WASHINGTON – A voter asked former Vice President Joe Biden a blunt question during an event in Nevada: “What the hell is going on with your campaign?”
After complimenting Biden and saying a match-up between him and President Donald Trump in November would be like “Mr. Rogers versus Darth Vader,” the voter abruptly questioned him why Biden’s campaign stumbled in the past few weeks.
“Well, that’s a good question,” Biden responded, to light laughter from the crowd. “He complimented me very highly, and then said ‘what the hell’s the matter with your campaign?'”
Biden then explained that his campaign was aware that he would face difficulty in the Iowa caucuses due to lack of diversity in the state. Biden finished in fourth-place.
“We did OK if you look at what happened there,” Biden continued, alluding to the chaotic election results due to a problem with an app. “It was kind of an unusual thing that I hope that doesn’t happen here.”
“My support in the Democratic party, and all the data still shows, it will see, that I am the candidate that has the broadest support from all sectors of the economy. For example, I have had, historically, overwhelming support from the African American community.”
“You can’t win without that happening,” he continued, also touting support with the Latino community.
Since he entered the race, polling has shown Biden with strong support in both communities. However, after he placed fifth in the New Hampshire primary after losing moderates and older voters to former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, national polls have shown a drop in Biden’s support from African Americans.
Biden predicted the poor performance in New Hampshire ahead of election night, and even left the state following the conclusion of the primary, opting out of a planned event in Nashua. He instead traveled to South Carolina.
But Biden continued to talk about his strength Tuesday by drawing in “middle-class, high school educated whites” out of states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and states the Democrats lost in 2016.
Nevada will test Biden’s argument that he can, in fact, win over minority voters. Iowa and New Hampshire are more than 90 percent white,while Nevada’s population is nearly 30 percent Latino and 10 percent black.
“We’re now getting into the thick of it,” Biden said. “Bill Clinton lost 12 primaries before he won one and became the nominee for president. I’m not counting on waiting that long.”