Biden Surrogate John Kerry: ‘70 Is The New 50’
Former Secretary of State John Kerry has been making this joke at the last few events for Joe Biden: “70 is the new 50.”
Kerry, a Biden surrogate, is alluding to the belief among some Democrats that the party should pick a nominee younger than the 77-year-old — and is batting it down.
But Biden draws a lot of his support from older voters, and at his events over the last few days, the crowds have been filled more with baby boomers than millennials.
That was largely the case Sunday when Biden kicked off his final full day of campaigning at Clarke University on the banks of the Mississippi River in Dubuque.
Around the corner from the campus snack shop, Nicholas Wade, a freshman, wanted to see Biden in person, but he’s supporting Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
“They say in the primary, vote with your heart. And I like Elizabeth Warren’s ideas the best,” he said. “But it’s tough, because I think Joe Biden has the best chance of winning in 2020. I think sometimes he does struggle to connect with younger voters.”
Ross Benjamin, 30, traveled here this morning from just across the border in Wisconsin. He’s planning to vote for Biden because he thinks Biden has the best shot to win over moderates and Republicans. But Benjamin says if he weren’t worried about all that, he’d rather pick Warren or Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who last night packed an arena for a partylike rally featuring the band Vampire Weekend.
“I’ve seen both Warren and Bernie, and they really bring the energizing core to our generation,” he said. “If it wasn’t about electability, it would be one of them two. I want someone who can actually get Donald Trump out of office, so I guess I’m sacrificing self-interest for the bigger picture.”
Peter Jarka-Sellers, 23, drove down from Minnesota last night to see Biden. He describes Biden as a “good, decent guy” whose life experiences really resonate with him. And he thinks Biden’s policy platform is more realistic.
“We’re not going to get to do any of the things we want to do if [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell is blocking them, and I think Biden will help us pick up some of the key Senate seats, so I’m trying to think how we can get the most done,” he said. “All of these people are saying stuff that’s further than Congress will let them do. You’re not going to get more than a public option [on health care].”
Tucker LaBelle, a sophomore at Clarke, says he used to swing Republican and now is undecided between Sanders, 78, and Biden.
“A lot of people will say we need someone younger in the White House, but with the experience and history they have, it’s kind of a no-brainer. They’re legends,” he said. “I just like Bernie a little more over Biden because of the way he handles himself in public. I’m a communications major, and I focus on how people speak, and at that last debate especially, I saw a lot more personality out of Bernie.”
At campaign events, Biden has heavily featured freshman Rep. Abby Finkenauer as a surrogate, who in 2018 flipped a Republican district here in eastern Iowa at age 29.
“When it comes to Iowa, it is about the future of our state as well, not just our country,” Finkenauer told NPR in an interview after the event. “And making sure we have somebody like Joe who embodies the values I grew up with here in Iowa, where you care about your neighbors and you step up for folks, and you also get things done. And that matters — I don’t care what generation you are. To see somebody who has done that his entire career, who has worked for working families, and that means everything to me, and that’s what we’ve been talking about on the trail.”
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