With his campaign on its last legs, former Vice President Joe Biden is trying out a new line of attack on Democratic presidential frontrunner Bernie Sanders.
Biden slammed the Vermont senator in a recent CNN town hall as a ne’er-do-well who has accomplished little besides naming post offices, the Washington Examiner reported. While criticism of Sanders thus far has largely focused on his radical policies, Biden argued that Sanders has failed to live up to his “revolutionary” reputation by not passing much of anything.
Biden slams Bernie’s record
Once seen as the frontrunner, Biden is desperate to win the South Carolina primary on Saturday after lackluster results in the early nominating contests. Sanders is seen as the frontrunner after sweeping Nevada’s caucuses last weekend with nearly half the vote, according to The New York Times, consolidating impressive results in Iowa and New Hampshire that have centrist Democrats fearing that it may be too late to stop the self-proclaimed socialist.
In his closing arguments, Biden has attacked Sanders for being too radical while portraying himself as the only candidate with a substantial policy record on issues from foreign policy to gun control. At the CNN town hall in Charleston, Biden said that he respects Sanders, but that the senator’s policies are extreme and would cost Democrats up and down the ballot in November.
“It’s not about a revolution. It’s about results,” Biden said, according to the Examiner. “But Bernie, in all the time he’s been in the United States Senate — I think he’s passed seven or eight bills, four of them really good. They relate to veterans and caring for veterans. A couple were post offices.”
Perhaps not surprisingly, the ideological Sanders has been ranked the least bipartisan member of Congress, according to a Georgetown University study cited by Fox News. He has led at least three bills to passage since first being elected in 1990 — one to help veterans and two that named post offices — although some place the number as high as seven bills.
Biden on the attack
The message for Biden has been pretty clear from the beginning: he’s the only guy who can beat President Donald Trump, and the only guy who knows how to “get it done” once he gets to the Oval Office. But Biden’s claims about his electability (and his capacity) have unraveled through one primary defeat after another.
His second-place finish in the Nevada caucuses, where he trailed behind Sanders at 20%, according to the Times, added pressure for him to up his game. As such, Biden has been on the attack all week, highlighting his role in passing the 1990s assault weapons ban and the Brady Bill, which established background checks and waiting periods for gun purchases, while slamming Sanders for his inaction on gun control — particularly, his support of a bill that shields gun manufacturers from liability lawsuits if their weapons are used to commit crimes.
“It was the right bill, then, unlike voting to give exemptions to gun manufacturers,” he said, contrasting the 1994 crime bill he supported, which “did not put more people in jail,” with Sanders’ vote on guns, the Examiner reported.
South Carolina looms
Like many in his party, Biden has also attacked Sanders’ policies, like “Medicare for All,” as too expensive and radical to win a majority of voters. But panic has set in among many centrist Democrats that it may be too late to find a moderate strong enough to deny Sanders a growing delegate lead, especially as the moderates continue to divide the anti-Sanders vote.
With South Carolina’s primary looming, Biden is leading comfortably in the state by double-digit margins, Fox reports. He has also won the key endorsement of one of Congress’s top black leaders, South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn (D). However, Sanders has been cutting into his support with black voters, according to recent polls.
Biden has been betting on a “firewall” of black voters in the state to keep his campaign going. But if he loses, it’s game over — and it won’t matter what Sanders did or didn’t accomplish.