Biden on Bloomberg entering 2020 race: 'I welcome the competition'

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSanders joins Biden atop 2020 Democratic field: poll The Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions Trump says impeachment lawyers were 'really good' MORE expressed confidence that he could hold off challenges from former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael Rubens BloombergSanders joins Biden atop 2020 Democratic field: poll Trump says Bloomberg is 'wasting his money' on 2020 campaign The Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions MORE and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval PatrickDeval PatrickPatrick backs reparations in unveiling 'Equity Agenda for Black Americans' Buttigieg to attend MLK Day event in South Carolina after facing criticism Deval Patrick knocks lack of diversity in Democratic debate MORE as the two threaten to jostle the 2020 Democratic primary field with late entries. 

“Come on,” Biden told CNN, gesturing with his hands. “I welcome the competition.”

Bloomberg — who is still mulling a 2020 run but has already announced millions of dollars in ad buys — and Patrick — who has officially launched his campaign — could possible rejigger the primary field at a time when centrist Democrats express concerns that Biden is a soft front-runner for the party’s 2020 nomination.

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“Watch me. Watch me,” Biden responded when asked about concerns that he was faltering.

“The idea that I’m not in better shape than Mayor Bloomberg, physically and otherwise,” he added before trailing off.

Biden has previously expressed confidence that he could withstand a challenge from Bloomberg, saying earlier this month, “In terms of his running because of me, the last polls I looked at, I’m pretty far ahead.”

Though Bloomberg said earlier this year that he would not run for president, speculation rose that he would reconsider joining the race after Biden saw a slight dip in the polls and had significantly less cash on hand than several of his top rivals.

“We now need to finish the job and ensure that Trump is defeated — but Mike is increasingly concerned that the current field of candidates is not well positioned to do that,” Howard Wolfson, a close adviser to Bloomberg, said this month.

Biden also brushed off a challenge from Patrick, citing a Patrick campaign event this week in South Carolina that was cancelled over poor attendance.

“I like Deval, I really do, he’s a good guy and he’s a solid guy, but I think this is about deciding who is ready on day one to unite this country and demonstrate that they could, and number two, who in fact can be ready on day one and be commander in chief,” Biden told CNN.