Biden-Abrams ticket is music to ears of some Dems

Democrats hoping former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenGraham: 'I could not disagree more' with Trump support of Afghanistan troop withdrawal Obama, Shaquille O'Neal, Charles Barkley team up to urge communities of color to get coronavirus vaccine Biden to hold second meeting with bipartisan lawmakers on infrastructure MORE jumps into the Democratic race for the White House are salivating over the idea that he could pick Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams as his running mate early in the process.

“It would be a bold and smart move,” said one Democratic operative who has been in touch with Team Biden. “Who wouldn't want Stacey Abrams as your partner? I think you've got to own the narrative. She's so popular, so exciting, so commercial. It would be a bold move. No one can tell me it's a net negative.”

Biden’s camp on Friday pushed back against rumors of a “pre-cooked” Biden-Abrams ticket.


“@JoeBiden has an enormous amount of respect for @staceyabrams (it is why he endorsed her!) — but these rumors about discussions on a pre-cooked ticket are false, plain and simple,” Biden spokesman Bill Russo wrote in a tweet.

But Russo’s tweet didn’t completely knock down the idea that Biden’s camp has been talking about it, and sources confirmed to The Hill that it has been under discussion.

Abrams, who was narrowly defeated in her bid for Georgia’s governorship in November, could negate lingering doubts about whether Biden is the candidate Democrats need in an election against President TrumpDonald TrumpGraham: 'I could not disagree more' with Trump support of Afghanistan troop withdrawal GOP believes Democrats handing them winning 2022 campaign Former GOP operative installed as NSA top lawyer resigns MORE.

While Biden is leading polls and would enter the primary as a front-runner, he faces significant doubts about whether he’s liberal enough to defeat rivals such as Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWorld passes 3 million coronavirus deaths Poll: 56 percent say wealth tax is part of solution to inequality Democratic senators call on Biden to support waiving vaccine patents MORE (D-Mass.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersGOP believes Democrats handing them winning 2022 campaign Senators in the dark on parliamentarian's decision World passes 3 million coronavirus deaths MORE (I-Vt.) and Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisMedia complicity in rise of the 'zombie president' conspiracy Trump looms over Senate's anti-Asian hate crimes battle DC goes to the dogs — Major and Champ, that is MORE (D-Calif.).

He also faces questions about his age — he’ll be 78 a few weeks after Election Day 2020 — and whether a party propelled by the energy of female and minority voters should elect an older white male as its standard-bearer.

Democrats say bringing Abrams aboard would immediately counter many of those arguments. It also would help Biden secure female, black and millennial voters, all of whom will be essential to winning a primary and general election. 

“It answers the concerns about Biden's age,” said Democratic strategist Brad Bannon. “Abrams broadens Biden's reach with women and blacks. And it's innovative which helps a candidate like Biden who comes across as a traditional politician.”

Biden’s team, which includes longtime advisers Steve Ricchetti and Mike Donilon, is continuing to look at the idea, according to sources familiar with their internal conversations.

Ricchetti, who is expected to serve as a top adviser on Biden's campaign, “sees the pros and cons” of the Abrams idea, according to one longtime Biden ally. 

One con, some Biden allies say, it that it would highlight a point that Biden couldn’t seal the nomination himself.

They point to Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTrump looms over Senate's anti-Asian hate crimes battle Republicans who backed Trump impeachment see fundraising boost US has seen 45 mass shootings in the past month MORE (R-Texas), who in a last-ditch effort to beat Trump in the 2016 Republican primary picked former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina to be his running mate.

“It makes him seem sort of desperate,” said one Biden ally.

The former vice president and those around him are spending an enormous amount of time trying to figure out his entry into the race. Biden is now expected to enter the race later next month, likely after the Easter holiday, sources say.

Questions about whether to name a running mate early or to announce that Biden would serve only one term have contributed to a long “will he or won’t he” process, to the annoyance of some donors and operatives growing weary of his “seemingly endless” deliberation about the best way to enter the race, as one put it.

“It's starting to get a little old,” one longtime Democratic fundraiser said. “It's been a much longer tease than necessary and as time goes on, I think the excitement wanes.” 

“I love the VP but there seems to be a lack of coordination, a lack of structure,” the fundraiser said. “This is a former vice president, a former U.S. senator, he gets the gig better than anybody and yet it seems to be dithering at times.”

Biden allies have said for months that he has time on his side because of his name recognition. The polls appear to bear this out; a Morning Consult survey this week showed him leading Sanders by 8 percentage points. 

David Wade, a Democratic strategist who served as a spokesman for Biden during former President Obama's campaign in 2008, said the former vice president’s team “is doing exactly the right thing.” 

“When you have 100 percent name identification with donors and supporters ready to go, why announce prematurely and invite even an extra day of friendly fire?” Wade said. “In a post-superdelegates era, there’s more time to wait. He’ll be measured by what he says and how he performs if he gets in, not by whether he announced early enough.”

“If his supporters are waiting for him, there’s no downside and probably real upside,” Wade added. “Sometimes activists, donors and the media need to kick the tires on some new cars before they fully appreciate the model car that’s been trusted before and driven them through the storm.”

While some have grown impatient with Biden’s dithering on entering the race, other Democrats agree with Wade. They say Biden and his team are using the extra time to think through some big ideas.

“They can’t come out half-cooked,” one ally said. “Everything needs to be thought out and he does need some innovative ideas like this Abrams one to show that he’s not just some stodgy white guy who’s been around awhile.” 

Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont and ex-chairman of the Democratic National Committee, described the Abrams idea as “brilliant” in an interview Thursday on Julie Mason’s “The Press Pool” show on SiriusXM.

Biden “would electrify the voters if he chose somebody like Stacey Abrams,” said Dean, who argued it pushes back on the narrative that Biden is yesterday’s news. “The question is, would Stacey Abrams want to do it? I don’t know.”