DE-Sen: False Alarm – Joe Biden Was Talking About Ted Kaufman

This just about confirms our worst fears:

Our conversation ended with a surprising request from the vice president as he hurried off to a national security meeting. Spontaneously, he turned to the possible Delaware senatorial campaign of his son Beau.

Biden: “If you run into Beau, talk him into running; he respects you.”

Me: “I don’t think he wants to run, though.”

Biden: “I don’t think he does either. I know he doesn’t want to. … I’m so proud of the job he’s done [as attorney general].”

It’s kind of amazing that, without Beau, Democrats don’t really have anyone on the bench in this solid-blue state who wouldn’t start off as an underdog against Mike Castle. This is a very disturbing development, indeed.

UPDATE (David): Sheesh – this is bush league:

But a transcript provided by the VP’s office makes it clear that Biden was talking about current senator Ted Kauffman.

VP to Harry Themal:  Always a pleasure of seeing you buddy.  Talk Ted into running, if Beau doesn’t.   Talk him into running – he respects you.  I wish I had the power of appointing Senators.  I’d appoint him from Maryland if he wouldn’t do Delaware.

Harry Themal: “I don’t think he wants to run, though.”

VP:  No I don’t think he does either. I know he doesn’t.  I’m so proud of the job he’s done.  God.

I’m still skeptical as to whether Beau Biden will run, but man, this was a serious flub on the part of the News Journal. And even though they’ve added a correction to the article, their front page still has the wrong headline. They should have posted the entire raw transcript online in the first place – that should be standard operating procedure for all media outfits.

Note: The original title of this piece was “Joe Biden Says Beau Not Interested in Running.”

RaceTracker Wiki: DE-Sen

81 thoughts on “DE-Sen: False Alarm – Joe Biden Was Talking About Ted Kaufman”

  1. I only assume that there is some type of respect for Mike Castle and the Bidens.  Family deferrence for the former Governor, that says much…still disappointing, but its something of a nastolgic gesture, I guess.

  2. This is not like North Dakota, we have a huge advantage in the fact that the state leans democrat. We need to find a nice young enthusiastic candidate, like Biden Sr. was all those years ago.  That candidate just has to peg Castle as a Washington insider who is out of touch with Delaware; much like Brown did with Coakley. Yes it will be an uphill fight, but I think we could pull it off. Now lets say we loose it, the seat will be up again in 2014. Also Castle would not be that bad of Senator, I would not call him a tea bagger, and he could be one of our go to republicans. Castle in 70 years old as well, so he can’t hold the seat forever after all.  However I would not give up on Delaware just yet.  

  3. I know this is his father’s former Senate seat, but AG Biden has been given ample time to make a decision on whether or not to get into this race. If he doesn’t want to run, he needs to announce as much and let another Democrat take the plunge. If he’s too scared to run against a 70-year-old Rockefeller Republican, he doesn’t deserve to be Senator.

    As much as people were scared by Castle’s entry into this race, I think he’s definitely beatable, even if the candidate isn’t Beau. I could see this being a Martha Coakley situation for the GOP. Castle has never had to run a real race. He entered the Senate race as the frontrunner. He can easily be painted as a quasi-incumbent in a year that’s not looking favorable for Washington insiders.  

  4. Wasn’t he appointed for the sole purpose of keeping the seat warm for Beau?  This is a major screw up of the worst order as many other Dems could have held the seat if appointed and Castle would not even have challenged them.

  5. Unbelievable. It will cost us CO and in all likelihood DE now. I am still somewhat hopeful about IL.

  6. Here’s a description of why we can safely kill the filibuster;

    And here are three ways to do it;

    Democrats can change the senate rules on filibusters through means as simple as one recently advanced in a New York Times Op-Ed by Tom Geoghegan,

    The president of the Senate, the vice president himself, could issue an opinion from the chair that the filibuster is unconstitutional. Our first vice presidents, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, felt a serious obligation to resolve the ties and tangles of an evenly divided Senate, and they would not have shrunk from such a challenge.

    Or through the strategy Jamie Court described in The Huffington Post,

    Rule 22 of the Senate, governing filibusters, can be changed or eliminated by a simple majority according to the US Supreme Court in U.S. v. Ballin (1892).  Senate rules call for 67 to change the cloture rule, but Democrats should be able to rewrite the rules since they control the Rules Committee. Rule 22 can go out the door all together or be modified. Republicans under Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist threatened to blow up the filibuster in 2005 with far fewer numbers.

    Or they could rely on the “Nuclear,” or “Constitutional” option.  A 2005 report by Betsy Palmer… highlights how this would be done.  This strategy would have to wait until the new Congress convenes in 2011, and would therefore represent a retributive rather than a pre-emptive response to Republican obstructionism, Palmer explains it as:

    One example of the “constitutional” or “nuclear” option revolves on the argument that, on the first day of a new Congress, Senate rules, including Rule XXII,the cloture rule, do not yet apply, and thus can be changed by majority vote

  7. The thing that bothers me the most about this is that Carney was obviously pressured into running for the House and not the Senate. When he declared for the House race Castle hadn’t declared for the Senate so he was obviously taking on the tougher race against an incumbent. The seat was being kept warm for Beau and now he is backing out. Carney could have declared for the Senate from the beginning, or been appointed, and that might have stopped Castle. I think the best bet now is for Carney to switch to the Senate race. Although he is pretty much a lock to win the house election so I doubt he will make the change. And I can’t blame him for that given how all of this went down.  

  8. Seriously, someone start a draft site and do the work to get Biden in the race like we’re doing with Halter in Arkansas and folks did with Jim Webb in ’06.

  9. Any new polling data out of DE?  I’m interested on how other potential candidates match up to Castle.

  10. You still stand behind that New Castle County Executive Christopher A. Coons might run for Senate instead?

  11. Maybe Menendez can convince Coons to run. He is the County Executive of Voter rich New Castle County. I still think Castle wins in the end though.

  12. ref

    His entry into the 1972 U.S. Senate election in Delaware presented Biden with a unique circumstance. Longtime Delaware political figure and Republican incumbent Senator J. Caleb Boggs was considering retirement, which would likely have left U.S. Representative Pete du Pont and Wilmington Mayor Harry G. Haskell, Jr. in a divisive primary fight. To avoid that, U.S. President Richard M. Nixon helped convince Boggs to run again with full party support.[28] No other Democrat wanted to run against Boggs.[13] Biden’s campaign had virtually no money and was given no chance of winning

    Except of course, in ’72, DE leaned R, and it was a R landslide year.

  13. I think we could win Arkansas if we get Halter or Clark to run. If Lincoln is the nominee then yeah were screwed.  

  14. Wonder if that increases the Chances that he’ll run against Bayh.

    The only safe Seats Dems have are now Maryland (Mikulski), Vermont (Leahy) and Oregon (Wyden)

  15. I don’t know who’s going to run if Beau is out. There are several Dem State Senators who aren’t up in 2010; I don’t know if they’d want to run against Castle though.

  16. From what I have heard it sounds like he is more interested in a Presidential or gubernatorial run. Pence also has a shot at Majority leader if the republicans get the House back. So I really don’t think he would risk all of that on a possible loss against Bayh.

  17. By my count we have 6 or 7 truly vulnerable seats to the GOP’s 5 (including 4 open seats).

    Dem vulnerables: Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania (Indiana if Pence runs, but I think he won’t)

    GOP vulnerables: Kentucky, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio (not including Louisiana because I really don’t think Melancon can win this year)

  18. a Senate Race would be the perfect launching pad.

    We really need a Poll on this Race. It would be nice to see if Bayh is at 50 % JA or not.

  19. but I’ll be angry with Beau if he doesn’t run. If he wasn’t interested, then Kaufman should never have been appointed.

  20. Bennett is good at campaigning, just as he is with fundraising. But I would love Delaware to likely Republican now.

  21. Just the way Paterson handled the process he screwed himself over (which gets us governor Cuomo)

  22. 1. Illinois was a disaster waiting to happen just because of Blagojevich, and there was very little anyone could’ve done about it based on the crap Blago pulled.

    2. I have no arguments with you about Colorado, Ritter should’ve put a stronger person in the Senate seat.

    3. Delaware’s pick was meant to be a placeholder period (something which many on our side of the fence had wanted to happen as opposed to “taking the choice away from the People of Delaware” or something to that effect anyways).

    4. As far as New York is concerned, I believed (and continue to believe) that Caroline Kennedy should’ve been appointed to the seat. With that being said, I don’t think that the choice of Gillibrand was bad per se (at least from a purely electoral standpoint) but it was handled poorly by Paterson (making him enemies on all sides).

  23. was interested until he found out he was actually going to have to work for it.  Now he is going to wait for a different year when he won’t have to work for it.

  24. wasn’t for that clown trying to make it that Beau could walk into the senate, we wouldn’t have to worry here.

  25. at the time it was not a great one. We easily could have lost her House seat, and we still could in 2010. Also she was a blue dog which does not bode well with most liberals in the state, although she has now basically changed all conservative positions she had in the House. However I am glad she has turned out to be a good Senator.

  26. Which is why John Carney decided to challenge Mike Castle, which in turn forced Castle into the senate race. Way to go, Joe!  

  27. Both of those things are unlikely and neither is that bad. Thompson doesn’t look like he’s running and Feingold could beat him anyway. And Patty Murray would wipe the floor with Reichert and we’d win his seat in the House.  Actually, I hope Reichert does run, because that’d be awesome!

  28. If McKenna and/or Reichert threw their hats into the ring, that would be a cause for concern.

    Both are from western WA, “law and order” establishment Rs. McKenna got some D support as well, ref

    McKenna’s ticket-splitting appeal has been enhanced already with the announced support of State Auditor Brian Sonntag and Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney Janice Ellis, both Democrats. Ellis spoke on behalf of McKenna during the kickoff.

    In other words, the disaster in MA has turned WA into a RTW.

  29. After Mass, the GOP thinks every race is winnable. And they’ll have the money too thanks to John Roberts’ supreme court.

  30. did you want Caroline Kennedy appointed? Peter King would of filed papers the next day to run against her. And you would of put a politician novice against a battle tested congressman.  

  31. eliminate the filibuster. It’s one of those things that benefits us in the short run, but will screw us in the long term.  

  32. And I’m also not interesting in stirring old wounds, I’m simply stating what my preference is and was (and for the record, Peter King doesn’t scare me as a statewide runner, not to mention it would’ve given us the chance to pick off his House seat before redistricting, making it easier to put more Democratic areas in other places).

  33. Even if the Republicans do take control of the Senate, it’s doubtful they have the muscle to undo the things we’d be able to hypothetically do under a majority-rules Senate.

  34. A filibuster-free U.S. Senate will give the Republicans only minor advantages. The Democratic talking points arguing that they’ve only filibustered a tiny minority of Bush’s judicial nominees are perfectly accurate. This, however, is the problem. Preventing the courts from being packed with bad judges is important. But it’s happening anyway. The handful of judges actually being blocked by the filibuster aren’t notably worse in substantive terms than the huge quantity that have gone through already; they’re just a bit easier to mount a public argument against. Beyond that, the main things conservatives have been successful at passing during their moments of ascendancy are huge tax cuts. But tax cuts — thanks to the arcane-but-important budget reconciliation rules — can’t be stopped with filibusters. Indeed, it’s very hard to think of any major conservative legislation that’s ever been stopped by a filibuster.

    It is, by contrast, very easy to think of liberal initiatives that filibusters have blocked. Indeed, as conservative activist Jim Boulet Jr. has wisely argued in a memo to his comrades, the filibuster is crucial to conservatism. By his account, without it, majorities would exist to raise the minimum wage; reform labor law to make new union organizing easier; ban discrimination against gays and lesbians in employment; reduce greenhouse-gas emissions; and close the “gun-show loophole.” I’m not a gun-control fan myself, but everything else on the list is a key priority. In the past, of course, the filibuster is most famous for its role in delaying the dawn of civil rights. Less well known is that it was integral to the defeat of Bill Clinton’s health care plan in 1993. If liberals ever get another chance to go for comprehensible health-care reform, the filibuster will once again rear its ugly head.

    At any given moment, the filibuster rule helps the minority party. Right now, that’s Democrats. But taking the long view, the filibuster is bad for Democrats. Ideally, you’d want to get rid of it at just the ideal moment. But, realistically, that can’t be done; only minority-party acquiescence will let it happen. Now’s a good time for Democrats to show some rare appreciation for the importance of long-term thinking and let the right shoot itself in the foot — rather than giving them yet another tool with which to rile up their base.

    Goddamn it was he spot on.  

  35. I think it is more likely that he runs for Congress instead. Sorry you may be stuck with Lincoln. I know it sucks and I really hope I am wrong.

  36. .. why they think going further to the left with Halter will save a senate seat in ARKANSAS !!??

    Lincoln probably can’t win under any circumstances, but Wesley Clark is the only candidate (other than Beebe, who isn’t going to change races) that would have a decent shot of holding this seat in a strong GOP year.

  37. You can either let things happen or try to change them.  We all know we might not get our way on this, but if we don’t act what happens become a foregone conclusion.  Besides, this exercise is finally working as a badly needed organizing exercise for Democratic activists in Arkansas and it’s introducing a lot of people here to new campaign tools so we’re coming out stronger regardless of what happens.  Do you have any idea how many people I’ve met in the last two months who didn’t know what blogs, facebook, twitter, and ActBlue were?  And I’m not just talking regular joes either…I’m talking about people who have worked in our Congressmen’s offices…

  38. Honestly I would take anyone but Lincoln and that includes Halter, however I think Wesley Clark is the best shot we have.    

  39. if you don’t think we can win by moving left with Halter, why do you think we would with Clark-he’s probably even further to the left.  Secondly, everyone in the state has had time now to realize that Halter is a progressive minded populist, and he’s widely popular even afterstanding up for gay rights and health care reform, whereas Lincoln is tanking.  This state has deep populist roots, something the Democratic establishment is moving away from at their peril.  Besides, Halter’s numbers show that people are willing to vote for a progressive here again just like they did with Bumpers, Pryor, Rockefeller, Fulbright, and the Caraways.  

  40. he’s probably run as a Conservative Democrat and two months into a potential Halter candidacy, i can guarantee you we’ll see people like kos, Bowers and Hamsher saying he’s sold them out.

  41. So why not try someone new?  Maybe she is just damaged goods and we just need someone new, anyone.  Has PPP polled Halter at all?

  42. because I think he will be more known and will have NO problem at all at fundraising. Plus his military service will help him, I think he would be a great fit for Arkansas. Do you think he will run?

  43. Halter did worse than Lincoln, although he had high unknowns. I agree I would rather nominate anyone over Lincoln.

  44. Those quotes are out of context apparently; he was talking about Kauffman, not Beau.

    Beau better run.  If not, Id judge him like I judge Coakley, someone who needlessly cost us a Senate seat.

  45. The WH isnt going to let us blow this I still think, which was why I was a little bit shocked that Beau was thinking of not running.

  46. And I’m telling you from first hand experience, there are populist progressive leaning Democrats here.  Halter is one of them.  The AG, Dustin McDaniel, is another.  There are a good number in the state legislature and the state has a long history of electing populist progressives who represent a reform tradition within the state party.

  47. If we’re going to turn this year around the activists have got to get energized and the base has got to get mobilized.  Having a draft effort going could help seal the deal on this one and get people motivated ahead of time.

  48. but I think the odds of them getting elected to Washington in this political environment are very slim and I expect should Halter run, he may be more progressive on healthcare, but I wouldn’t be surprise to see him support Stupak, back off his support for gay rights, namely I don’t expect him to come out for repealing DOMA, and, especially in the wake of the SCOTUS decision, become a little more friendly with the Waltons.

  49. It’s becoming apparent that people are pissed right now and it’s not because we’re too liberal or any nonsense like that-it’s because Democrats haven’t gotten results or kept the base motivated.  If Democrat want to come back, they better learn from Martha Coakley and Creigh Deeds and run candidates that will A) motivate the base and B) actually work to pass reform.

    And I’m sorry, but I’m not going to get down in a funk thinking Halter’s going to move right over your idle speculation.  I know the man’s record, so that’s what I’ll go on.

  50. who should we nomminate? Not just liberals, but dems that can win even if they are somewhat moderate.  

  51. He’d still be a hell of a lot better than any Republican. And right now, Lincoln is looking like at least an odds-on loser. So I think the point is not to primary her to the left but to get a candidate in there who can represent the Democratic Party and have a better chance to win the general election. If you can get both in the same person, great.

  52. but I have seen many a time where people praise someone as being the great liberal answer only to be disappointed that they run as a centrist pragmatist.

    The name Larry Kissell comes to mind, as do the names Jon Tester and Mark Udall

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