Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign is not happy with a new report in Politico about how she is treating the potential candidacy of Joe Biden.
Politico’s Edward-Isaac Dovere reported that Biden supporters see Clinton’s team as increasingly firing “tightly targeted warning shots” meant to dissuade him from entering the race.
Two top Clinton campaign spokespeople disputed the report and suggested its evidence was thin at best.
“Clinton already running against Biden? News to us! Sounds like something else that’s only true in minds of @politico editors,” wrote Jennifer Palmieri, her communications director
“How many times can Politico ‘report’ on made-up Clinton camp plans to ‘unleash the hounds’?” asked Brian Fallon, Clinton’s press secretary.
Biden is mulling weather to leap into the 2016 fray and challenge Clinton for the Democratic nomination. Polls show Clinton would remain the favorite even if Biden enters, but some see his candidacy as a greater threat to her than Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), her chief primary rival at the moment.
The public momentum for Biden has recently built up as donors and other supporters urge him to run. People close to Biden reportedly stated that the vice president is more likely than not to launch a White House bid. But Clinton’s camp, according to Politico, is quietly nudging Biden toward “not.”
“Surrogates have sounded off, questioning his chances and his political abilities, wondering if he’d be up to the job. Clinton even leapt in herself, bringing him up out of nowhere … to knock him for how disappointing he’d been when they were working on the bankruptcy bill in the Senate,” Dovere wrote.
“They’ve stepped up the roll-out of their endorsements and organization. Their operation is just so massive and well put together, they want Biden and anyone considering supporting him to think, there’s just no space left for him.”
However, Palmieri and Fallon fiercely maintained that all of the perceived signals to Biden are just the Clinton campaign humming along at its normal pace:
To be more clear, I bet @politico editors also don't believe we have strategy against the VP, but it's good click bait to say we do.
— Jennifer Palmieri (@jmpalmieri) September 22, 2015
.@jmpalmieri Rolling out endorsements is SOP for a campaign. But for Clinton camp, it is 'sending a signal to Biden'. Absurd.
— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) September 22, 2015
The topic of Biden is especially sensitive because so much of his decision, he’s said repeatedly, will be based on whether the Biden family is emotionally able to handle the rigors of the campaign trail after the death of his son, Beau Biden, earlier this year.
Clinton has generally gone out of her way to avoid publicly pushing Biden one way or the other on the race. During a Sunday interview on “Face the Nation,” Clinton denied doing anything to prepare for a potential Biden campaign.
“This is such a personal decision and the vice president has to sort this out,” she said, according to a CBS transcript. “I just have the greatest respect and affection for him and I just think everybody ought to give him the space to decide what’s best for him and his family.”
Business Insider reached out to Politico for comment and will update if the outlet responds to the Clinton camp’s broadside.