Sherrod Brown is blunt about Biden
When I asked U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown about the state of the Democratic presidential race, he seemed hesitant to say anything specific about most of the candidates.
But that wasn’t the case with former Vice President Joe Biden, who was the front-runner before the primary / caucus season started.
If Brown’s comments about Biden were a movie title, it would be “He’s Just Not That Into You.”
I asked Brown, a Cleveland Democrat who explored running for president in late 2018 and early 2019, if he was surprised with Biden’s slow start.
“No, no surprise,” he responded.
“Joe has not had success in his other presidential races, and this time he’s not been able to cut through and show the contrast between him and (U.S. Sen.) Bernie (Sanders) or him and anybody else,” Brown said.
Will Biden be about to capture the nomination?
“I think it’s still possible. I said back six months ago that I thought that Biden wouldn’t be the nominee. But you can always bet the field.”
I also asked Brown about Sanders of Vermont, the current Democratic presidential front-runner, and multibillionaire Mike Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor, who has spent more than $500 million on his campaign so far.
Brown didn’t have a lot to say about either of them.
“Bloomberg I think is raising issues. He’s showing contrast,” he said. “Bloomberg and Sanders, sort of the most conservative and the most liberal maybe” are “making contrasts between what Democrats believe and what this president has done. I think the more attention they pay to that — Bloomberg in his ads, Bernie in his speeches — is generally a good thing.”
I specifically asked if he had any concerns about Sanders being the nominee and Bloomberg’s money.
“I don’t think anything is inevitable,” he said regarding Sanders.
Brown then went into unity mode saying that whoever the Democratic presidential nominee is would beat incumbent Republican Donald Trump.
This is in sharp contrast to U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Howland, a Biden supporter, who has said Sanders and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts are too extreme left to beat Trump.
Ryan has said if either is nominated, Democrats will “lose 48 states and I don’t know which two they’d win.”
Regarding Bloomberg’s money, Brown said: “I have concerns there’s too much money in politics.”
Specifically Bloomberg? He responded: “I have concerns there’s too much money in politics.” He then laughed and said, “That’s all you’re getting on this one.”
Biden was the last candidate I asked about before a Brown staffer at the event indicated the senator was done taking my questions about the presidential race.
After Brown answered a question from someone else, I turned to the senator and asked if he was going to endorse.
I didn’t expect an answer. But Brown said he might do it before Ohio’s March 17 primary. He said it definitely wouldn’t come before this Tuesday — called Super Tuesday because 14 states have primaries with about one-third of pledged delegates up for grabs. It’s a smart decision as some Democratic presidential candidates will likely drop out after Tuesday or at least before March 17.
If I had to make an educated guess, I expect Brown to back Warren if she is still in the race by the time he made an endorsement. Brown said he is currently undecided.
Brown is the top Democrat in Ohio and his support is something any of the presidential candidates would be pleased to have. But — and I’m fairly sure Brown would agree with me — endorsements in the presidential race, even by a U.S. senator, don’t carry much weight with voters.
A few days after I spoke to Brown, The New York Times published an article stating some Democrats have called him to suggest if there’s a brokered convention — with Sanders having the most delegates but not the majority — he could “emerge as a white knight (presidential) nominee.”
While you can’t dismiss everything, Brown considered running for president in late 2018 and early 2019 before announcing March 7, 2019, that he wouldn’t seek the job. He said his decision was because he believed he could be more effective in the Senate and that he “didn’t dream all my life to be president.”