Posted: Feb. 1, 2004
JOE ISN'T RUNNING, BUT HE
By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer
U.S. Sen. Joseph R. Biden
Jr. has made up his mind about which candidate to vote for in
Delaware's Democratic presidential primary Tuesday, but it is a
It seems as though Biden,
once he decided to stay out of the race himself, really decided to
stay out of it. He has not endorsed anyone, even though as the
state's senior Democrat it would be highly prized and even though
his fellow U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper is out there stumping for
Joseph I. Lieberman.
"I would never tell the
Democrats of Delaware who to vote for," Biden said.
This is not to say Biden is
keeping his opinions to himself. He has said repeatedly his
favorites in the seven-candidate field are John F. Kerry and Wesley
K. Clark, and in the last several days he has shown up at campaign
events and held forth.
Biden went to gatherings for
both Kerry and Clark, and he said he was prevented only by his
Sunday schedule from joining up with Lieberman, who spent the
morning campaigning in Claymont and Wilmington.
"These are really good
people. I tried to catch up with Joe this morning, but I had to do
CNN. All three are so superior to [George W.] Bush," Biden said.
Biden may not be saying
which candidate has his vote, but it is possible to parse his public
comments for clues.
With considerable fanfare,
Biden appeared Friday evening with Kerry at a political rally in New
Castle in front of about 500 Democrats, and anybody listening would
have been hard put to think Kerry was not his man, not with this
sort of ringing rhetoric:
"You are capable of not only
beating Bush but capable of doing the one thing America needs the
next president to be able to do more than any other . . . . This man
has the stature to restore America's stature."
In a much lower key, Biden
made the rounds Sunday afternoon with Gertrude Clark, who was
campaigning for her husband in Wilmington at the Windsor Apartments
and a "Women for Clark" reception at the Delaware College of Art &
It should be noted that
Biden's sister, Valerie Biden Owens, is a political consultant whose
firm works for Clark, and she was there Sunday with Gertrude Clark.
Joe Biden made it clear he
thinks highly of the candidate, saying, "I would be totally
comfortable with Wes Clark as president of the United States, as the
senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee."
Then Biden did what he did
not do at Kerry's rally. He mentioned the other guy. "He [Clark] and
John Kerry -- another good friend of mine -- share something in
common. They're both war heroes," Biden said.
Biden also pointed Windsor
Apartment residents toward state Sen. David P. Sokola, state Rep.
Dennis P. Williams and Wilmington Councilman Charles Potter Jr., who
signed on with Clark and attended the session with Gertrude Clark.
"They've endorsed Wes Clark. These are the people you really should
be listening to," Biden said.
With that, Biden kept his
word -- "I would tell people my preferences, but I would never
endorse a candidate" -- but if his choice remains anybody's guess,
it does not appear to be a particularly hard guess, does it?
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