Biden Works To Find Footing In N.H., With Jabs at Sanders and Buttigieg

Feb 5, 2020

A day after telling voters in Nashua that “he’d gotten more than his fair share" of Iowa Caucus delegates, Joe Biden was sounding a different message on the New Hampshire campaign trail Wednesday.

“I am not going to sugarcoat it," Biden told a crowd in Somersworth. "We took a gut punch in Iowa, the whole process took a gut punch. But look, this is not the first time I’ve been knocked down."

NHPR’s Josh Rogers was with Biden Wednesday, as he and his campaign worked to restore its footing with less than a week until the primary here.

As he awaited Joe Biden's arrival in Somersworth, Mike Gauthier said he mostly follows politics on TV, but felt getting a look at Joe Biden up close as crucial.

“I got to see for myself what he sound like and what he looks like in person, to see if he can really take on Trump because it’s going to be a rhetorical war.”

When Biden hit the stage, he seemed out to win people like Gauthier over. First, Biden lit into Donald Trump.

“I don’t believe we are a nation to embrace white supremacy and hate groups, which is happening now, and I don’t believe we are a nation that bows to Vladimir Putin, because I guarantee you I have not and I will not.”

Framed by teleprompters, Biden also took repeated aim at some of the Democrats who beat him in Iowa, including Bernie Sanders.

"Every Democrat will have to carry the label Senator Sanders has chosen for himself. He calls him – and I don’t criticize him – he calls himself a Democratic Socialist.”

And here's what Biden said about former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg:

“Is he really saying that the Obama-Biden administration was a failure? Pete, just say it out loud. I have great respect for Mayor Pete, and his service to this nation, but I do believe it’s a risk - to be just straight up with you - for this party to nominate someone who’s never held an office higher than mayor of a town of 100,000 people.”

After working the rope line and posing for selfies, Biden invited a procession of reporters onto his bus for one-on-one interviews. When it was my turn, Biden he expressed confidence that his campaign remains poised to run strong, particularly after New Hampshire."

“I have the broadest appeal across the country in terms of the diversity of my coalition, particularly with minorities, African Americans and Hispanics," he said. "So we are just getting to it now, and I’ve said from the beginning that the determination of who is going to end up the nominee will be judged by how you get through the first four gates here. The first two primaries and the first two caucuses.”

"God know how many votes you’ve taken through the years, but I think you can say that your body of work represents the last half century of the Democratic Party, for good and for ill, at times. Do you think the electorate wants that at this moment?"

“I think the electorate wants a continuation of what Barack and I did," Biden said. "What are you guys talking about, man? The fact of the matter is look at what we did. Look at what I’ve done."