Can Joe Biden beat Hillary Clinton in 2016?

Reaction from the 'Special Report' All-Star panel


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," August 24, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Secretary Clinton is lining up staff and support, including many members of President Obama's team. Our latest poll shows she is the overwhelming choice of Democrats. Is there any chance you are going to challenge her?

VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Yes. There is a chance.

WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JOSH EARNEST: The president has indicated his view that the decision he made, I guess, seven years ago now, to add Joe Biden to the ticket as his running mate was the smartest decision that he has ever made in politics.

You can make the case that there is probably no one in American politics today who has a better understanding of exactly of what is required to mount a successful national presidential campaign.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Well, Josh Earnest today at the White House saying it different ways, different times, but reiterating that the president has a lot of confidence in Joe Biden when he was asked about the possibility that Joe Biden is getting in this race.

Meantime, CBS News is reporting of the 770 top fundraisers to the Obama team at the beginning, only 51 so far have committed to Hillary Clinton. And then there is this from "The Washington Post" tonight. "Major Democratic fundraisers have been invited to meet with Vice President Joe Biden at his residence at the U.S. Naval Observatory after Labor Day, part of a series of conversations he is having with senior party leaders as he contemplates jumping into the 2016 race."

We're back with the panel. The stars seem to be aligning here, Juan.

JUAN WILLIAMS, THE HILL: I don't think -- I really am surprised, Bret. I didn't see this coming. I don't know if it's psychological, if he is still grieving and he feels like this is his last shot, a guy in his 70's and thinking, you know, what is my legacy going forward?

But it does strike me that the most important thing I heard today was from Josh Earnest when Josh Earnest said the president might issue an endorsement. Well, wow, imagine if the president endorses Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren endorses Joe Biden. I think then you have a tremendously dynamic situation on the Democratic side.

Now, short of that, let me just say, I don't see Joe Biden getting in and beating Hillary Clinton. He would damage Bernie Sanders to some extent. But does he get to the left of Hillary Clinton like Elizabeth Warren?

BAIER: Well, part of that equation has to do with this meeting between Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren that happened over the weekend. A lot of talk what was said and what wasn't said. There is some talk that Joe Biden would pledge if he gets in to be a one term president, thereby possibly asking Elizabeth Warren to be his running mate and opening the door to her for a nomination in the second part. Steve, do you buy that?

STEVE HAYES, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: And that is the point, right? That's the point of all of this. What we are watching is a carefully orchestrated campaign conducted by Joe Biden and his advisors to gin up interest and speculation of a potential run. But that doesn't necessarily mean that he ends up running. But we know for sure that he wants us to believe that he is going to run.

I think that this development with Elizabeth Warren over the weekend is interesting. And it shows how central she has become to Democratic party politics.

Look, nobody you talk to, at least nobody I talk to in Democratic Party circles can say one way or another Joe Biden is going to run, Joe Biden is not going to run. But it's very clear that what might have been idle speculation back in January when he was talking to George Stephanopoulos has become a very serious exploration of a possible candidacy. And there's absolutely every reason he should undertake that when you look how vulnerable Hillary Clinton is.

BAIER: We have talked about the polls, here. And obviously this is Joe Biden in a time where he has not run. But nationally, honest and trustworthy numbers, Hillary Clinton is upside down in those numbers. Joe Biden is 58, 34. He is not in the race. He hasn't been attacked. But it's a different scenario. And he is -- he comes off as authentic to a lot of Democrats who may be looking alternative to both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: If you are a Democrat in a panic over Hillary, her problems, her negatives, her honesty quotient, and you see the continuation of the scandal going indefinitely, and you see her hostage to fate, it's not in her hands. It's in the hands of the FBI, judges, and investigative committees, you are the perfect alternative.

Now, there are two elements here. The first is that was a pretty broad hint from Josh Earnest that the president is tilting towards Biden. He says I can't think of anyone else in the country, anyone else like Hillary, who could run a better campaign?

BAIER: Let me interrupt for one second. We also talked about the president saying a few weeks ago how he could win a third term, suggesting that maybe someone close to him should carry the torch.

KRAUTHAMMER: This is 1988, Reagan handing over a torch to Vice President Bush, which is exactly what the scenario would be. Who would be the best person he would like it entrust with his legacy?

But, second, the perfect play for Biden is not Elizabeth Warren's endorsement but that he announces, he will have her on the ticket and he will be a one-term president. He has an age issue, which is if he were sworn in on inauguration day he would be the oldest president by five years. With Warren, and if you announce you are going to be a one termer, nobody is going to want to elect you. But if you have you as your heir, he gets the entire base, the liberals have a vision of a 12-year rule, it would work perfectly for them.

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