Biden: I never thought Hillary Clinton was a “great candidate,” you know

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Democrats might want to file this under Things You Could Have Said At The Time. Actually, Joe Biden might have been trying to say it all along, but atypically for Biden, with so much nuance that everyone missed it. Here was Biden in October, for instance, asking voters to turn out for Hillary even though they may not like her much:

That’s what makes this less surprising than some might think:

Appearing at the SALT hedge fund conference in Las Vegas, the possible 2020 presidential candidate weighed in on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 candidacy in a way that Clinton supporters sure won’t like.

“I never thought she was a great candidate,” Biden said, according to reports. “I thought I was a great candidate.”

Indeed he did — and he wasn’t quite as shy about sharing that during the campaign, either. In May 2016, while Hillary struggled to put away Bernie Sanders, Biden told ABC News that he would have been the best candidate in the race, had he chosen to run:

Now that the election is over, Biden can’t stop telling everyone what a poor choice Democrats made last year, and what a better choice he would have been. The question that prompts is, of course, why Biden didn’t jump in the race when he had the opportunity. The illness and death of his son Beau in May 2015 weighed heavily on the then-vice president, and understandably so; by the time Biden was ready to take a look at getting in the race, Hillary had grabbed most of the establishment donors and resources, leading to his reluctant pass in October 2015. That, however, turned out to be a major miscalculation, as Bernie Sanders proved in his grassroots challenge, which came close to knocking Hillary out of the nomination. Biden could still have jumped in before the primaries in February when it became clear that Hillary wasn’t putting it away, perhaps leading to a brokered convention that could have rescued Democrats from themselves.

But what about 2020? CNN thinks he may give it a try then:

Joe Biden isn’t ruling out making another run for the White House.

Asked if he will run for President in 2020, Biden said on Thursday, “Could I? Yes. Would I? Probably not.”

Right now, Democrats have to already be worried about a Hillary-Bernie rematch in the next cycle sucking up the oxygen from younger and less damaged contenders. Throw Biden into the mix, and all of a sudden their top tier candidates have an average age of 76 years at the election, and an aggregate time in Washington that surpasses that mark.

Biden may have won it all in 2016, had he gotten into the race. Democrats will almost certainly los it all if they run the Three Stiffs four years later. And Biden, among the three of them, is probably the most adept at figuring that out.

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