In a Texas Chicken Joint, Biden and Onetime Rival Buttigieg Unite to Stop Sanders

It was a scene that was hard to imagine just one week ago.

Joe Biden, 77, and until Sunday his rival for the Democratic presidential nomination Pete Buttigieg, 38, appeared together before a tiny crowd in the Chicken Scratch restaurant in Dallas, where Buttigieg endorsed the former vice president.

Fighting back tears, Biden compared the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, to his late son Beau, saying it’s the highest compliment he could offer any person.

Having ditched his own bid for the nomination, Buttigieg, who had spent months calling for generational change, said Biden would “bring back dignity to the White House”.

Buttigieg’s endorsement was the most eye-catching among over 100 that flooded in for Biden from mostly moderate Democrats after his dominant South Carolina win on Saturday.

That victory gave Biden unexpected momentum going into the pivotal “Super Tuesday” contests of 14 states that will vote on the nominee to challenge Republican President Donald Trump in November.

New Biden backers also included U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who ended her own presidential bid on Monday, as well as another former presidential rival, former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke. Both endorsed Biden at his final rally in Dallas before voting begins in Texas and 13 other states on Tuesday.

Biden’s comeback in South Carolina, after poor showings in other early voting states, was exactly the kind of a victory that Democratic party officials, alarmed that front-runner U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders is far too liberal to beat Trump, had been craving, according to more than two dozen people who either gave their endorsements or were involved behind the scenes.

“I hadn’t planned on endorsing anybody, but then I started getting worried that Bernie Sanders would become the nominee,” said former Senator Barbara Boxer of California, a longtime Senate colleague of both Biden and Sanders.

On the eve of the South Carolina primary, she called Biden’s longtime aide Steve Ricchetti, telling him that she would endorse him if Biden won the race. Boxer then wrote up her own endorsing statement, sent it to the Biden campaign, and said the campaign could release it in the event of a victory.

“There was no plan, no pressure, nothing,” Boxer said.

People both inside and outside the Biden campaign said while the effort involved calls from Biden aides asking for help, most decided on their own.

“People woke up and got a sense of urgency,” said one person close to Biden.

Buttigieg’s endorsement, in particular, surprised Biden.

When the two talked by phone after Buttigieg exited the race on Sunday night, Biden did not ask Buttigieg for his endorsement nor did Buttigieg say he was going to announce support, Biden said at the Texas chicken restaurant event.

The event, which lasted only a few minutes and involved a small crowd of press, campaign supporters and people who just happened to be at the restaurant, was hastily arranged to accommodate a quick, last-minute announcement, said one person familiar with the matter.

Just a day earlier on Sunday evening, former President Barack Obama, to whom Biden served as No.2 for eight years, called Buttigieg amid reports he was exiting the 2020 race, according to two people aware of that phone call.

Obama did not explicitly ask Buttigieg to endorse Biden, the people said, but emphasized the historic nature of his bid and the leverage it carries. Buttigieg, the first openly gay presidential candidate, won Iowa’s first-in-the nation’s caucuses and came a close second behind Sanders in New Hampshire’s primary in February.

Buttigieg, who once volunteered for Obama’s election, understood the ties between Obama and Biden.

“It was unsaid,” said one of the two sources, who asked for anonymity. Representatives for Obama could not be reached for comment.

COMMON GOAL

No matter how they came to join a sudden and growing army of endorsers for Biden, each backer had one thing in common: a desire to stop the surge of the self-described Democratic socialist Sanders.

Most believe the senator from Vermont, who champions economic justice and universal government-run healthcare in place of private insurance, will not only lose to Trump, but could dash Democratic hopes of regaining the Senate and even cede control of the House of Representatives to Republicans.

Former Democratic Senate majority leader Harry Reid of Nevada, still an influential figure in the party, told Reuters he could no longer stand idle, faced with the prospect of a Sanders nomination.

On Sunday night, Reid called Ricchetti, who was traveling with Biden on a plane, and told them he was ready to endorse.

“If my friend Bernie Sanders gets the nomination, Trump will beat him,” Reid said.

California House freshman Gil Cisneros said the endorsement of Biden by James Clyburn, an African American South Carolina congressman and the third most senior Democrat in the House, was a big factor in her decision to fall in line.

The majority of South Carolina primary voters said Clyburn’s backing was an important factor, according to Edison Research exit polls, which showed Biden with 61% of African-American support to Sanders’ 17%.

“Hopefully we can all give Biden a boost, not just California, but in all the Super Tuesday states,” Cisneros said.

(Reporting by Tim Reid, Trevor Hunnicutt, Jarrett Renshaw and Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Soyoung Kim & Simon Cameron-Moore)

Responses

  1. What does Beto get out of his endorsement?

    At this late date, what is Biden getting from this endorsement?

    It centers around power, influence and money.

  2. This development shows just how desperate the Democratic Party’s leadership is at defeating Bernie Sanders. They know that if Bernie wins, he heads the DNC and a LOT of them lose their comfy gig.

    Let’s ve clear. The DNC and establishment Congress members etc are very willing to lose to Kind Donald The Loser than to have Bernie win. They don’t care because the current sgstem makes thrm rich and consolidates their perceived power. Nothing focuses the mind like a hangman’s noose.

    If Biden wins, their comfort zone remains intact, even though King Donald The Loser will slaughter Biden in November. Biden would get wiped out, but nobody would care.

    And here y’all are bickering over a non-consequential picture error. SMH

    1. Commie Bernie’s nomination would mean nearly every D’rat down the ticket would lose in 2020 giving Trump a historic landslide and returning the House to the GOP. That has been repeated over and over for weeks meaning even the Fascists in the DNC don’t want an avowed Communist in the WH they can’t control. Conversely, quid pro quo Joe is better suited since he is so demented he rarely knows what planet he’s on.

      1. You are confused, Confused James The Projectionist. I thought you said the DNC were socialists. Now they are fascists. You have no idea about anything.

      1. IJR – the images vary on several other sites that use the same article. IJR was the only one with this image.

    1. You don’t know? Or are you simply disturbed at your loss of opportunities to express your homophobic thoughts? Relax….Mayor Pete has agreed to campaign for Biden.

    2. Looks like Bozo O’Rourke as he’s being interviewed for the Minister of Gun Confiscation position.

  3. I was curious – Reuters has the correct people in the photo on their site. Several other sites use this same article and all have different images which leads me to believe the image is set by the site administrator. Which means IJR put the wrong image.

    IJR – get it together.

  4. I am completely blind in one eye and only have 70% range of vision in the other and even I can see that that is not Pete Buttegieg.

    1. Yea, I noticed that too. About the only thing Buttigieg has in common with the two pictured in this pic is they are all losers. The three amigos, Biden, Beto and Buttigieg.

    2. One out of two ain’t bad. This is 2020 – lower your news reporting standards!

      There isn’t even a single thing in this article about what they ordered or what kind of toy Buttigieg got in his kid’s meal. It’s just a fluff piece about politics.

  5. Texas Chicken Joint? Why are they sitting at a Whataburger table? And that picture isn’t even Buttigieg with Sanders. What kind of nonsense is this? Just slap any old picture of Biden sitting in a restaurant. That’s good enough for our news site. I guess we’re lucky they didn’t just post a picture of Clinton getting a hot dog in New York and call it a day.

    1. Since you are concerned about IJR errors, “that picture isn’t even Buttigieg with Sanders.”—–It is not a picture of Buttigieg OR Sanders. The Buttigieg endorsement of Biden DID take place outside a Texas Chicken Joint— Beto invited the Bidens to a Whataburger AFTER he endorsed Biden at the rally. Ed, if IJR’s picture selection is the worst thing to happen today, I would agree that we are lucky—VERY lucky.

      1. How long will it take for you to realize no one cares what you think nor about your monotonous rhetoric? Bet you were the know it all at recess

    2. So butt plug drops out, no surprise there…. what surprises me is that educated, supposedly thinking adults, would endorse Joe Biden LOL hahaha….you have to be softa between the ears !!

  6. “It was a scene that was hard to imagine just one week ago.” It sure is. Since Buttigiege looks a lot like Beto O’Rouke. Is this just another Biden gaff?

    1. Biden gaff?? The article which has a few minor errors, including the pronoun “her” regarding Rep. Gil Cisneros’s decision since he is a MALE, was not written by Biden. WHERE would you get the idea that Biden selected the photo IJR used for the article? For a Trumper to concern themselves with Biden gaffs, is exposing a lack of self awareness. WHERE have you gotten the idea that anyone has forgotten the 4th of July speech in which Trump praised the Revolutionary soldiers for their successful defense of the AIRPORTS?

      1. Good grief. It was a joke. Like soooo many liberals…..no sense of humor. But the urgent need to try to sound superior. Settle down Phylliphilis

        1. Reminds me of something I read yesterday: IF you’re 20 years old and NOT a Liberal, you don’t have a heart. IF you’re 40 years old and NOT a Conservative, you don’t have a brain.

Comments are closed.