Biden: ‘I’m the most qualified person in the country to be president’

Former Vice President Joe Biden is still fueling speculation that he will run for president in two years.

On his book tour in Missoula, Montana, Monday night, Biden discussed his 2020 prospects, saying he believes that he is the “most qualified person” to be president. He also said that his decision would be made in the next two months. He also called himself a “gaffe machine.”

“I’ll be as straight with you as I can. I think I’m the most qualified person in the country to be president,” Biden said to the supportive crowd at the University of Montana. “The issues that we face as a country today are the issues that have been in my wheelhouse, that I’ve worked on my whole life.”

Then he added:

“No one should run for the job unless they believe that they would be qualified doing the job. I’ve been doing this my whole adult life, and the issues that are the most consequential relating to the plight of the middle class and our foreign policy are things that I have — even my critics would acknowledge, I may not be right but I know a great deal about it.”

Biden said his family would decide as a “unit” whether or not they’re prepared for the demands of a run for the presidency, which he knows a lot about. He also gave a timeframe for the decision, saying:

“I have two young grandchildren my son left who love me and adore me and want me around. I want to be there to take care of them, so we’ve got to figure out whether or not this is something we can all do as a family. We’re going to make that decision in the next six weeks to two months, and that’s the basis of the decision.”

The moderator of the Montana event, Bruce Feiler, challenged Biden by pointing out the liabilities of a Biden campaign, saying:

“Biden’s too old. He signed and he cosponsored the crime bill. He was the chairman of the judiciary committee during the Anita Hill hearings, and he’s out of touch in the era of Me Too. $1.5 million ain’t gonna cut it anymore, you need $100 million. Who wants to wake up at 6 a.m. for the next two years and get insults from the President of the United States? … You’re a gaffe machine. I could go on. Which of these scares you the most?”

“None of them,” Biden said, as the audience laughed. Then he took pains to defend what people are saying are his liabilities, by contrasting himself to the current president:

“I am a gaffe machine, but my God what a wonderful thing compared to a guy who can’t tell the truth. I’m ready to litigate all those things, the question is what kind of nation are we becoming? What are we going to do? Who are we?”

“Whether or not I run, whoever runs, I’m going to break my neck to make sure they win. We can’t have four more years.”

Biden is truly an old-school Democrat. He has strong bonds with longtime members of the Democratic Party, and he also has undeniable appeal to white working-class voters. In Pennsylvania (where he grew up) throughout the Midwest he may have many advantages over other Democratic candidates.

The 2020 race is going to lead to one of the most crowded Democratic primary fields in history. And apparently Joe Biden thinks he has a better than average chance of winning most of those primaries. As to whether or not he will actually take the plunge and enter the field, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Since Biden has led many polls among Democrats, if he doesn’t run his potential 2020 opponents will probably be happy and breathe a sigh of relief.