Civil rights activist and former Democratic presidential candidate Jesse Jackson shot down the idea of a Joe Biden candidacy Tuesday night, saying the vice president is likely to forgo a run altogether following a strong showing by Hillary Clinton.
In the spin room following the first Democratic debate in Las Vegas, Jackson was asked if Clinton’s solid performance would keep Biden out of the presidential race.
“More than likely,” Jackson told National Review. “The reason why – I think the assumption was that she was going to sink under the weight of Benghazi, and sink under the weight of e-mails. Clearly the Republicans self-destructed this week on Benghazi when they said it was a pointed agenda to destroy her. It puts her on the moral offensive, and puts them on the moral defensive . . . With those issues behind her, it gives her, to me, a clearer path – it seems.”
Jackson explained that Clinton’s “poise and preparation and command of the issues,” coupled with “Bernie Sander’s willingness to expand the party, not divide it” by defending her on the e-mail scandal, gives a prospective Biden candidacy little wiggle room. “I think it’s a three-person race now,” he said. “I think that Hillary and Sanders and [Martin] O’Malley are clearly the three pro people running.”
Speculation over a possible Joe Biden run has been building for months, with those close to the vice president saying he is actively considering a challenge to Clinton. There have a been several reports in recent weeks that he is close to making a decision, but he has so far delayed making an announcement one way or another.