The Debate's Biggest Loser Might Be ... Joe Biden

He needed Clinton to stumble, and she did the opposite, say analysts
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 14, 2015 6:33 AM CDT
The Debate's Biggest Loser Might Be ... Joe Biden
Vice President Joe Biden attends a meeting between President Obama and German President Joachim Gauck in the Oval Office on Oct. 7.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(Newser) – One theme emerging from the post-debate coverage: Hillary Clinton did so well that she beat a man who wasn't even present. It seems that Joe Biden's no-show status might have made a late entry even more challenging:

  • Run, Joe? After the debate, six in 10 Democrats participating in a caucus for Politico said Biden should not run. Just 38% thought he should.
  • Moment passed? At the Washington Post, Chris Cillizza includes Biden on his list of debate losers. If the VP were hoping Clinton would stumble, he miscalculated. "I think it's reasonable to ask whether, by not announcing before the debate, Biden may have missed his moment to strike when Clinton was at her weakest."

  • A longer shot: Biden was "perhaps the biggest loser" of the night, observes John Zogby at Forbes. "While his draft committee ran a powerful ad showing the person and his values in Mr. Biden’s own voice, the fact is that Mrs. Clinton was just commanding." Filing deadlines will soon force Biden's hand, but "I don’t see how he chooses to run now."
  • Smart move: A pre-debate analysis at the Christian Science Monitor made the case that it was wise for Biden to sit out the debate, because it would allow him to assess his chances. "If he thinks her performance is not particularly compelling, or if he thinks that she signals anything to him that suggests she might have a problem in the general election, I think that’s what convinces him to throw his hat in," says one analyst. He may have his answer now.
  • No space? "When Biden takes a fresh look at the Democratic field, he may see that Clinton has solidified her standing with establishment Democrats while (Bernie) Sanders has kept his grip on populist progressives, leaving even less space for him," writes James Oliphant at Reuters.
  • Unless ... "Perhaps the biggest strategic winner was Joe Biden because Clinton was unable to definitively rout Sanders, who faces looming questions about mainstream appeal and general electability," writes Carrie Sheffield at Politico Magazine. The VP "may feel growing confidence after tonight that he may be able to split the middle of the Democratic Party, siphoning enough of Clinton’s support to forge a victory."
(Read more Joe Biden 2016 stories.)

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