Joe Biden’s list of endorsements just got some major names to place at the top. Prior to his Monday night rally in Dallas, reports emerged that Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, and Beto O’Rourke — three moderate candidates who dropped out of the 2020 race — would endorse the former vice-president as he consolidates support following his win Saturday in South Carolina.
Before Biden’s rally in Dallas, Pete Buttigieg — who suspended his campaign on Sunday — came out in favor of Biden: “When I ran for president, we made it clear that the whole idea was about rallying the country together to defeat Donald Trump and to win the era for the values that we share. That was always a goal that was much bigger than me becoming president. And it is in the name of that very same goal that I am delighted to endorse and support Joe Biden for president of the United States.” Biden then compared the former South Bend mayor to his late son Beau: “I know that might not mean much to most people but to me it’s the highest compliment I could give any man or woman.” An odd Biden-ism followed the warm sentiment: “Like Beau, he has a backbone like a ramrod.”
At the rally, Amy Klobuchar, who suspended her campaign on Monday, spoke first with a call for unity: “If we spend the next four months dividing money and going at each other, we will spend the next four years with Donald Trump.” The Minnesota senator then endorsed Biden as the candidate who could unite Democrats: “He could bring our country together and build the coalition of that fired up Democratic base, as well as independents and moderate Republicans.”
Biden then spoke, thanking Klobuchar and affirming her future in American politics: “You’re going to hear a lot from Amy Klobuchar for a long, long time.” He then detailed the “corrosive impact” of the president, stating that he didn’t realize just how selfish Trump was before he was elected. “Just a few days ago the press and the pundits declared this campaign dead,” Biden said, an analysis he disagreed with. He also included a few jabs at Bernie Sanders: “Most Americans don’t want the promise of revolution, they want results. They want revival of decency.”
After concluding his stump speech, Biden thanked former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke and welcomed him to the stage. O’Rourke called Trump an “existential threat” to democracy, and lauded Biden as “kind, caring, and empathetic.” Though O’Rourke once asserted that Biden was a “return to the past” and said that the country “can do better,” the former representative, gesticulating and sweating, celebrated him as the candidate to defeat Trump. Biden repaid the favor, hugging O’Rourke, who touted gun reform as his policy core, and telling him: “You’re going to be the one who takes care of the gun problem with me.”
Following his expected rout in the South Carolina primary on Saturday, the moderate lane of the Democratic primary has reopened for Biden, following a roughly monthlong polling slump. With Buttigieg and Klobuchar’s campaigns suspended, the moderate vote is now split between just two septuagenarians: Biden and Bloomberg. On Monday, Morning Consult released a poll showing the former mayor down one point and the vice-president up seven points after South Carolina — though still trailing Sanders by three points.
As New York’s Ed Kilgore notes, the picture on Super Tuesday looks quite competitive — though the Sanders campaign has outspent and out-staffed Biden in most of the states voting on Tuesday: “As of Monday night, FiveThirtyEight’s projections have Joe Biden favored in Alabama, Arkansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and American Samoa, with Sanders favored in California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Utah, and Vermont. If either candidate has a significantly higher number of states in the win column, that could be a dominant headline while the dust settles.” In Texas, where Biden’s rally was held, Sanders is leading in polls by 4.5 points — though the former veep is likely to clear the 15 percent minimum to earn delegate support there.
Though Biden has had a banner few days, the question of how his public speaking may or may not reflect his overall stamina was raised again on Monday, when he botched a quote from the Declaration of Independence:
Nevertheless the Democratic Establishment appears to have rallied behind him: In addition to the endorsements from the former candidates, on Monday former Nevada senator Harry Reid also announced he would support Biden. Perhaps more important is the new support of hedge-fund manager Orin Kramer, one of Buttigieg’s top fundraisers, who just backed Biden. The former vice-president, who started the year with less cash on hand than his rivals, will need all the help he can get to take on the remaining front-runners: billionaire Michael Bloomberg and Bernie Sanders, who raised $46.5 million in February, the most of any Democratic candidate in a month thus far.