Joe Biden’s support in Iowa has been flagging, but his campaign’s effort to turn things around is off to a humiliating start.
The former vice president was mocked after an awkward encounter with a farmer who apparently had never heard of him, the Washington Examiner reported. A picture of the farmer watching football, unaware that the Democratic frontrunner was in the same room, made the rounds of social media over the weekend.
Farmer ignores Biden
Biden took to Iowa on Saturday to kick off a blitz through the Hawkeye State, called the “No Malarkey” tour, to gin up support amid faltering momentum in the state, according to the Des Moines Register.
While still considered the frontrunner, Biden’s confused ramblings, along with polling numbers that show fellow moderate Pete Buttigieg rocketing to first place in Iowa, have raised doubts about his candidacy.
As the desperate “No Malarkey” talk would imply, Biden is clearly hoping to double down on a dubious “everyman” appeal, but it doesn’t seem to be working.
A farmer in an Iowa restaurant whom Biden approached Saturday comedically underscored a lack of public enthusiasm for Biden, although admittedly unintentionally.
Politico reporter Natasha Korecki shared a photo of the man ignoring Biden and staring straight ahead at a TV with the game on as the former vice president of the United States looks down at him, unacknowledged. Korecki spoke with the man, who indicated he didn’t know who Biden was.
— Natasha Korecki (@natashakorecki) December 1, 2019
When told that the man was Obama’s former vice president, he said, “Oh. I’m not an Obama fan. This is Republican country.”
Strange behavior continues
The episode was just one humorous vignette from Biden’s Iowa kickoff: the candidate was instantly mocked over the “malarkey” terminology, which many said came across as an out of touch, disingenuous attempt to appeal to rural voters, according to Politico. Biden has long sought to lean into a downhome, countrified image of “authenticity,” despite the fact that he is a millionaire and a career politician with decades of experience in Washington.
But Biden brought more confusion when he nibbled on his wife’s finger while on the stump Saturday. Although some, including members of the audience, seemed to find it wryly amusing — and the full video context did make it appear more playful than a viral still image implied — it didn’t help dispel perceptions that Biden is either a perverted old man or, in some sense, losing his mind.
But the incident that really left voters scratching their heads came when Biden spun a bizarre, confusing yarn about the hair on his legs, cockroaches, and how much he likes children sitting in his lap. The resurfaced speech, which actually predates his recent Iowa stop, left many flabbergasted and disturbed.
“I got hairy legs that turned…blonde in the sun. And the kids used to come up and reach into the pool and rub my leg down so it was straight and watch the hair come back up again,” Biden said, adding that he “learned about kids jumping on my lap, and I loved kids jumping on my lap.”