SC’s Clyburn defends Biden’s 2024 bid, primary state swap to avoid ‘embarrassment’
South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn says Joe Biden should be America’s choice for president in 2024 despite continuing questions over his age and fitness to reignite the U.S. economy.
In an HBO Max interview with Chris Wallace, Clyburn defended Biden’s 2024 presidential bid, saying Biden has what it takes to defeat a potential contest against former President Donald Trump.
Despite some recent polling, which show Biden’s wavering support, Clyburn said, “one poll may say one thing (while) other polls will say another.”
“I’ll go with the average of those polls, and Biden is 8 (percentage) points in the lead, and that’s before people really get a chance to look in on their performances and their vision and listen to vision (of candidates) for the future,” Clyburn said.
A recent poll from the Washington Post from earlier this month shows that 68% of respondents believe Biden lacks the mental sharpness to serve as president. When Democrats were asked who they want the party to nominate in 2024, 36% said Biden, while 68% said someone else.
“Congressman, wouldn’t Democrats be better off picking another person as their nominee next year?” Wallace asked Clyburn.
“I don’t think so,” Clyburn said. “When you go into a general election, it’s gonna be Democrats against Republicans. What’s the Democratic vision for the future and what’s the Republican agenda and vision for the future? And then you look at the candidates, and you compare your candidate against their candidate, that is when it comes to fruition.”
Still, Trump, who faces a criminal indictment in New York, consistently leads national polls.
“Isn’t there a real risk if Democrats ... nominate Joe Biden with all the concerns, particularly about his age and his competence over the next six years, ... that there is a real chance that the country ends up with President Trump again?” Wallace said.
“I don’t think so, not in the least,” Clyburn said. “When you put Biden up against Trump, Biden does very well.”
Clyburn defends SC 1st in primary order
Earlier this year, the Democratic National Committee voted to overhaul its 2024 contest calendar by designating South Carolina as the first state in the Democrats’ presidential picking order.
Clyburn — known for reinvigorating Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign after endorsing the president following losses in early voting states Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada — said the Democrats’ decision to change the primary order was centered around saving the president from “embarrassment.”
Biden “remembers what happened to (former President) Lyndon Johnson,” Clyburn said. “(Johnson) goes up to New Hampshire and gets embarrassed (in 1968), and drops out of the race. So why (would Biden) expose himself to that?”
In response, Wallace asked whether Biden was, in effect, “stacking the deck” by moving states.
“I don’t think he’s stacking the deck. I think he’s avoiding embarrassment,” Clyburn said. “And that’s what (Biden) is attempting to avoid here.”
Asked whether Clyburn thought Iowa and New Hampshire could potentially embarrass Biden, Clyburn said, “Well, if you do not have the demographics as required for Democrats in the general election, and neither one of those states ... (has the) demographics that are favorable to Democrats in the general (election), and I think we know that.”