At an event with donors in Boston, Biden said that “If Trump wasn’t running, I’m not sure I’d be running,” according to reporters who were there.
Tapper asked CNN political director David Chalian for his thoughts on the “incredibly candid admission.”
“What we’re seeing here is a real clearly defined rationale for Biden pursuing reelection despite his current political standing, which is not that great in the polls, obviously ― the conversation about his age, and concern among Democrats if he is the best candidate to put forward,” Chalian said.
“He clearly thinks he is the single best Democrat to be able to defeat Donald Trump, because he did so once,” Chalian added. “We’ll see if it plays out this way.”
“Is this the kind of admission a candidate should be making?” Tapper asked.
Chalian said the comment would provide former President Donald Trump, the front-runner for the Republican nomination, “an opportunity here to talk about Joe Biden being more focused on him than anything else” ― but that Biden should keep reminding voters of his contrast to Trump.
“Donald Trump as the target here could help rally the troops,” he said.
Tapper’s second guest, former Biden adviser Michael LaRosa, suggested the president should “start being candid with everybody” on the subject in more public settings.
He also said Biden should prepare for a scenario in which he goes up against a different Republican presidential candidate next year.
“What if it isn’t Donald Trump?” LaRosa asked. “What if the contrast is him and Nikki Haley? I don’t know if any Democrat, including the White House, wants that contrast.”
Despite facing four criminal indictments, Trump has been at the front of the Republican presidential pack by a country mile in the polls. Recent surveys showed him ahead of Biden in several swing states a hypothetical matchup, though analysts have noted the unreliability of polls so far ahead of an election.
A Messenger/Harris poll released Tuesday also showed Haley, the former governor of South Carolina whose campaign has seen a recent surge in momentum, leading Biden in a hypothetical head-to-head.
Watch the CNN analysis below.