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May 022013

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — A world without Hillary Clinton looks pretty good for Joe Biden.

Indeed, if the former secretary of state decides against running for president in 2016, a new Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday shows the vice president not only looks like a leading contender, he leaves other potential Democratic hopefuls in the dust.

More than three years from Election Day 2016, Biden commands the support of 45 percent of Democratic voters, the poll found. He’s 30 points ahead of his closest competitor, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who draws 15 percent support, followed by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick at 6 percent, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley at 3 percent and Virginia Sen. Mark Warner rounding out the group of five possible candidates with 2 percent.

In such a match-up, 26 percent of registered and leaning Democrats said they do not know for whom they would vote if the election were held today, according to the poll, which was conducted between April 25 and 29 and has a margin of error of 3.8 percentage points.

Regardless of whether Clinton is in the equation, “none of the other younger potential candidates for the Democratic nomination currently has anything approaching widespread support from party voters,” Quinnipiac pollster Peter A. Brown said.

Biden, 70, has remained relatively quiet about another presidential bid, which would be his third run for the White House if he chooses to run. In April, son Beau Biden, Delaware’s attorney general, said in an interview with The New York Times, “It’s no secret that he’s thinking about this,” but added, “he hasn’t made up his mind.”

Joe Biden heads to Columbia, S.C., this weekend where he will deliver remarks at the South Carolina Democratic Party’s annual Jefferson Jackson Dinner and attend Jim Clyburn’s World Famous Fish Fry, two opportunities for the vice president to test the waters in the early primary state.

But if Biden has designs on moving from the vice president’s residence to the White House in 2016, today’s poll suggests that Clinton poses a grave threat.

Put the former first lady and New York senator, 65, back into the presidential mix and, at this point, she blows the rest of the field out of the water, amassing the support of 65 percent of Democrats. Biden drops from the top of the heap to the low double digits — 13 percent — creating a Grand Canyon-like 52 percentage point gap between the two potential candidates.

In such a scenario, the rest of the field — Cuomo, 55, Patrick, 56, O’Malley, 50, and Warner, 58–  are all languishing in the low single digits. At the same time, the percentage of Democratic voters who say they don’t know who they would support eases to 14 percent.

An earlier Quinnipiac poll taken in March showed Clinton’s beating three possible Republican contenders in head-to-head match ups: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin congressman and former GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan.

Quinnipiac released Thursday’s poll on the same day that the Democratic group, Emily’s List, started a campaign to put a woman in the White House. Emily’s List is being careful not to make the effort a cheering session for Clinton, but its president, Stephanie Schriock, acknowledged the obvious in a CNN Op-Ed.

“There’s one name on all our minds: Hillary Clinton,” she wrote. “Voters across the country are excited about her possible run.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Apr 202013

Joe Raedle/Getty Image(DETROIT) — Vice President Joe Biden will be the keynote speaker at a Democratic party fundraising dinner in Michigan tonight. The appearance at Detroit’s Cobo Center comes as speculation slowly percolates over a 2016 run for the Oval Office by the vice president, a potential move for which he has not announced his intentions.

Biden will also attend a fundraiser in South Carolina early next month, according to The Post and Courier. Michigan and South Carolina are among a handful of the first states to run their Democratic Party primaries each election cycle, and have a strong influence over the rest of the nomination process. These trips couple with a visit to another primary state by Biden last January: Iowa’s inaugural ball.

During the 2012 campaign Biden heavily implied he would consider another run.

Tickets for tonight’s event costs a minimum $160 per person with tiers of up to $10,500 for large group buys. The gala is being billed as a “Jefferson-Jackson” dinner, named for the two former presidents. The term is commonly fixed to the annual gala dinners for many states’ Democratic parties.

Michigan Sen. Carl Levin will introduce the vice president this evening. Senator Debbie Stabenow is also expected to attend.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Mar 222013

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Vice President Joe Biden’s trip to Europe last month led to a hefty tab with over one million dollars dedicated to securing hotels for himself, staff and security for two nights in London and Paris, government documents show.

As first reported by The Weekly Standard, documents show that the U.S. government obtained contracts with two five star hotels in London and Paris where the vice president stayed for two nights during a five day tour of Europe last month.

One contract was awarded to the Hyatt Regency London for a total of $459,338.65 while another contract was given to the Hotel Intercontinental Paris Le Grand for $585,000.50

While the figure may be eye popping, a State Department official said these costs are par for the course in high-level international trips as they also include staff, security details and military personnel.

“These costs are nothing out of the ordinary. They are in line with high level travel across multiple administrations,” the State Department official said.  “The contract costs cover the entire range of support, including accommodations for military, communications, secret service staff, and other support professionals.  Security experts are also required to travel in advance of the President or Vice President. Safety and security are not negotiable.”

A 1999 GAO report showed that trips President Bill Clinton took to Africa, Chile and China in 1998 cost $42.8 million, $10.5 million, and $18.8 million dollars, respectively – adding up to over $72 million.  1302 travelers were on the trip to Africa while 592 and 510 people were on the trips to Chile and China, respectively.

The White House normally does not disclose the amount paid for the vice president and president’s travel.  Last year, an Air Force official told ABC News that one hour of flying time aboard Air Force One totaled $179,750 in FY2012.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney would not reveal how much the president’s day trip to Illinois earlier this month would cost when asked about it by ABC News’ White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl.

“I don’t have a figure on the cost of presidential travel.  It is obviously something, as every president deals with because of security and staff, a significant undertaking,” Carney said. “But the President has to travel around the country.  He has to travel around the world.  That is part of his job.”

In an interview during the campaign last year, President Obama said the decisions about travel are not up to him when he was asked if he was out of touch with ordinary Americans if his family is “jetting around” on Air Force One.

“The fact of the matter is, I think if you look at my track record, I’m raising a family here. When we travel, we got to travel through Secret Service, and Air Force One, that’s not my choice. I think most folks understand how hard I work and how hard this administration is working on behalf of the American people,” Obama told KMOV of St Louis.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Mar 152013

Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — A student reporter from the University of Maryland, College Park has been issued an apology by Joe Biden’s office after he was told to delete photos he took at a speaking event Wednesday where the vice president introduced a new domestic violence initiative.

According to student reporter Jeremy Barr, he was approached by a Biden staffer and was told to delete the photos because he was mistakenly sitting in a public area rather than the designated press section and had “an unfair advantage” over the media.

This prompted a response from Lucy Dalglish, dean of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, who complained to Biden’s office that his staffer “not only violated fundamental tenets of freedom of press freedom, but directly violated the law set forth in the Privacy Protection Act.”

Soon afterwards, the vice president’s press secretary Kenda Barkoff spoke to both Barr and Dalglish to apologize and blamed the incident on “total miscommunication.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Mar 042013

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday urged the Supreme Court to uphold a provision of the Voting Rights Act that gives the federal government ongoing oversight of ballot collecting in states with histories of discrimination.

Speaking at annual memorial festivities in Selma, Ala., commemorating the 1965 civil rights march there, the vice president told a crowd including some of those original activists, “You know it continues on today.”

“Look folks, here we are, 48 years after what you did, and we’re still fighting,” he said.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 struck down Jim Crow segregation laws and other measures designed to impede or otherwise disenfranchise black voters.  It has been renewed four times, most recently in 2006 when it passed Congress near-unanimously.

But last week, conservative justices on the Supreme Court indicated they were ready to void a section of the law that requires certain states, mostly in the South, to seek federal approval for any changes to their voting regulations.

“Section Five of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, OK?  I even got credit getting [Sen.] Strom Thurmond to vote for its reauthorization in the Senate,” Biden said, referring to the late, formerly segregationist lawmaker.  “Strom Thurmond voted for its reauthorization in the Senate, and yet it’s being challenged in the Supreme Court of the United States of America as we stand here today.”

On Wednesday, Chief Justice John Roberts expressed concern that in its renewal Congress had used an outdated “coverage formula” that singled out certain states unfairly.  Justice Antonin Scalia warned of “racial entitlements” that he said would prove “very difficult” to get rid of through democratic processes.

In his remarks Sunday, the vice president recalled a conversation that day with Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., before an event celebrating Black History Month at Washington’s Naval Observatory.

“Before he went up there I turned to John and said, ‘John, did you ever think we’d be standing here in 2013, you introducing me in this house, just having come from the steps of the Supreme Court in 2013 to make the case against what the court may decide?’” Biden said.

In addition to the Supreme Court, legislators in a number of states were actively looking for new ways to make it more difficult to vote, the vice president said.  Recalling his recent reelection campaign with President Obama, Biden said 41 states had passed laws attempting to curb same-day voter registration and early voting, and other measures liberals say were aimed at curbing the turnout of minority voters, a reliably Democratic voting bloc.

Lewis, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, and other veterans of the 1965 march were with the vice president in Selma to participate in a yearly reenactment trek across that town’s Edmund Pettus Bridge.  The original march stretched 50 miles to Montgomery, Ala., but not after demonstrators were first set upon by state and local police.  The day became known as “Bloody Sunday” because of the brutality displayed against the marchers.

Selma police say 15,000 joined the leaders for this year’s Bridge Crossing Jubilee.

Thanking the surviving civil rights leaders, Biden said what happened nearly four decades ago was a lesson in courage.

“There’s courage to stand up to the moral imperatives of the day to be the only odd man out in your community saying the right thing.  But there’s a different kind of courage standing there, looking at somebody who has a club in his hand, and you know — you know.  You don’t wonder, you don’t guess, you know,” he said.  “That the courage to look evil in the eye, fight against it, never give up.  Knowing that at the end of the day somehow believing, that though the cost may be high, that victory is inevitable. It takes a special breed of person to feel that.”

Biden was a teenager living in Delaware at the time of the the march, and said that one of his few life regrets was that he did not participate in the event.  The vice president credits civil rights leaders Sen. Herman Holloway and lawyer Louis L. Redding for having helped launch his political career as a young lawyer and Senate candidate.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio