By Angela Greiling Keane and Elizabeth Titus, Bloomberg News (TNS)
WASHINGTON — Vice President Joe Biden handicapped the 2016 U.S. presidential race, saying Bernie Sanders has “credibility” among Democratic primary voters that opponent Hillary Clinton lacks on income inequality.
“I think that Bernie is speaking to a yearning that is deep and real and he has credibility on” income inequality, Biden said in a CNN interview aired Tuesday, asked why Clinton is struggling against Sanders according to polls in early primary states.
Biden, in another interview Tuesday on NBC’s Today show, said the ultimate winner of the presidential contest he decided not to enter may be Republican Donald Trump. And even if that scenario appears more likely, Biden said he doesn’t see a scenario in which he would be a late entrant into the race.
“I’ve learned never to say no, but I can’t imagine one. If I win the lottery maybe,” he said, saying he was joking and hadn’t bought a Powerball ticket.
On income inequality, Biden said Clinton has “come forward with some really thoughtful approaches to deal with the issue.” But he added, “it’s relatively new for Hillary to talk about that. Hillary’s focus has been on other things up to now.” Clinton was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.
Sanders has more resonance with voters on the issue at a time when the “basic bargain” with the middle class is “broken” as “productivity is up, wages are stagnant,” Biden said on CNN. The Vermont senator has identified himself as a democratic socialist.
Biden said Trump, who is leading among Republican Iowa caucus participants according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Monday, has a chance of being the next U.S. president.
“Yes, I think it’s possible,” Biden said on Today. If Trump wins, “I hope he gets a lot more serious about the issues.”
(Angela Greiling Keane reported from Washington. Elizabeth Titus reported from New York.)
©2016 Bloomberg News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Photo: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden announces he will not seek the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination during an appearance in Rose Garden of the White House in Washington October 21, 2015. REUTERS/Carlos Barria