Ex-Senate leader Daschle on Biden: 'It's not a forgone conclusion that he'll win'

Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) warned Wednesday that former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenPoll: Support for Sanders among college students reaches highest level since April Obama has taken active interest in Biden's campaign: report The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy MORE’s strong lead in national polls doesn’t necessarily mean that the 2020 White House hopeful will become the Democratic nominee.

“I think he’s doing well but it’s not a forgone conclusion that he’ll win,” Daschle, who said he has indicated that he will support Biden, told Hill.TV on “Rising.”

“He’s got a a lot of work to do as any candidate would this early in the process,” he added.

Daschle also defended Biden over criticism on the former vice president’s reversal on certain issues, such as the controversial Hyde Amendment.

“Show me a politician, give me one name of somebody in politics who hasn’t had a change of heart around an issue,” he said. “I certainly have and I think that’s almost to be expected.”

Biden continues to face fallout after he abruptly backtracked on his longtime support for the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal funds for certain abortion services in the U.S.

Some critics dismissed the move as insincere. But Biden pushed back against these claims during a campaign stop in Iowa on Tuesday, saying it was a “legitimate criticism for them to look at.”

“The truth is a majority of the American people agree with the Hyde Amendment,” he told local NBC affiliate station WHO-TV. “So the idea that this would be helpful to change is not accurate in terms of being able to win an election.”

Biden remains a frontrunner in the crowded Democratic field and a new poll suggests that he could even beat President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren unveils Native American policy plan Live-action 'Mulan' star spurs calls for boycott with support of Hong Kong police Don't let other countries unfairly tax America's most innovative companies MORE if elections were held this week.

According to a national Quinnipiac poll, Biden boasts a 13 percentage-point lead over Trump at 53 percent to Trump’s 40 percent.

Trump has made it clear that he would not be afraid of running against Biden, frequently calling the former vice president's health and mental fitness into question. 

"I'd rather run against I think Biden than anybody," Trump told reporters Tuesday. "I think he's the weakest mentally."

—Tess Bonn