Biden’s “get” and his pre-rebuttal to Bush’s address

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden appeared (20 minutes late) on the steps of the Iowa Statehouse today to announce he’s been endorsed by a state legislator.  More on that in a moment.

Biden offered a 5 minute, 15 second response after I asked him to analyze Bush’s announcement to the country that’s scheduled for this evening (it’s no secret what Bush is going to say).  Listen to Biden’s response here.

Now, back to the endorsements. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Des Moines endorsed Biden today.  That would be the Kevin McCarthy who is an assistant Polk County Attorney and the same Kevin McCarthy who was Joe Lieberman’s Iowa campaign manager back in 2003.

"This presidential campaign is all about Iraq," McCarthy said to open his remarks at the news conference.  McCarthy is not on the same page with his old pal Lieberman on the war, however, as McCarthy accuses Bush of lying to the American people.  "We cannot believe what (Bush) says," McCarthy said this morning. 

McCarthy talked about the campaign chatter sizing up Biden as a potential Secretary of State in a Democratic president’s administration.   "Given that Iraq is the number one issue facing this country…wouldn’t it be nice to have a president of the United States smarter than his secretary of state?  Wouldn’t that be a nice change?"

Both McCarthy and Biden talked about polls which show Biden a blip compared to other candidates.

"First of all, polls at this stage…are basically a snapshot among an electorate that’s not yet paying attention," McCarthy said.  "If we recall four years ago, Iowa at this time, what, it was going to be a battle between Dick Gephardt and Howard Dean, the national frontrunner….That was the state of political play at this time (four years ago).  Senator John Edwards couldn’t break four percent in a single caucus poll until two weeks before the election.  Senator Biden was at five percent in the last three polls that I saw. There is a groundswell of infrastructure, caucus-goers, that are signing onto this campaign.  I sense movement.  I sense energy….Things are going to move."

Biden spoke, calling McCarthy’s endorsement a "big deal."

"This race is absolutely wide open," Biden said.  "The vast majority of the people not only in Iowa, but the vast majority of the people in all of the early primary states in the nation have not made up their mind yet.  They have not come close to making up their mind."

Seven other Democrats serving in the Iowa Legislature have endorsed Biden.  (Memo to Biden campaign:  State Rep. Doris Kelley spells her name with two E’s not one.)

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.