Biden defends decision to pass on Iowa appearance: 'I would skip inauguration for that'

Biden defends decision to pass on Iowa appearance: 'I would skip inauguration for that'
© Greg Nash

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenButtigieg on Biden's Iraq War vote: 'that vote was a mistake' Buttigieg on Biden's Iraq War vote: 'that vote was a mistake' Ocasio-Cortez starts petition to repeal Hyde Amendment MORE, a Democratic presidential hopeful, late Monday defended his recent decision to not visit Iowa. 

He told a room full of donors and lobbyists in Washington, D.C., that he skipped visiting the early voting state to attend his granddaughter's graduation and celebrate a birthday, according to a pool report provided by his campaign. 

“One of my competitors criticized me for not going to Iowa to talk for 5 minutes," he said. "My granddaughter was graduating. It was my daughter’s birthday. I would skip inauguration for that." 

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Nineteen of Biden's 23 competitors for the nomination spoke in Cedar Rapids on Sunday at the Iowa Democratic Party's annual Hall of Fame dinner. He was the only major candidate to miss out on the event. 

He said during the event Monday evening that skipping the event for family events shows his values.

“People are looking for your character issues. They’re looking for what your value set is,” he said. 

He also criticized Democratic Party infighting, saying that it is  “increasing the chances that this fella [Trump] will win.“

Biden is expected to address his absence at the Iowa dinner last weekend during a speech in the state on Tuesday.

"I guess some folks were surprised I made that choice, but I don't know why," he will say, according to prepared remarks.

"There are some things more important than running for president — and my daughter and granddaughter are two of them. So I'll make the same decision every time."

Biden has consistently been the front-runner in major polls of the two dozen people vying for the Democratic Party's 2020 presidential nomination.