Biden on whether Sanders can unify party as nominee: 'It depends'

Biden on whether Sanders can unify party as nominee: 'It depends'
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Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenWinners and losers from the South Carolina debate Five takeaways from the Democratic debate Sanders most searched, most tweeted about candidate during Democratic debate MORE declined Tuesday to say if he thinks Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWinners and losers from the South Carolina debate Five takeaways from the Democratic debate Sanders most searched, most tweeted about candidate during Democratic debate MORE (I-Vt.) could unite the Democratic Party should he become the 2020 nominee.

“We have to unite,” Biden told reporters in Muscatine, Iowa. “I’m not going make judgments now. I just think that it depends upon how we treat one another between now and the time we have a nominee.”

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Biden has promised to support Democrats’ ultimate White House nominee, maintaining on the campaign trail he would “work like hell” to help any of his primary rivals oust President TrumpDonald John TrumpWinners and losers from the South Carolina debate Five takeaways from the Democratic debate Democrats duke it out in most negative debate so far MORE.

Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperOvernight Energy: Critics pile on Trump plan to roll back major environmental law | Pick for Interior No. 2 official confirmed | JPMorgan Chase to stop loans for fossil fuel drilling in the Arctic White House effort to roll back bedrock environmental law spurs strong opposition Where do we go from here? Conservation can show the way MORE (D-Del.), a top Biden supporter, echoed the former vice president’s remark.

“I think at the end of the day, people are not just looking for someone who can unite our party, but someone who can unite our country,” he told The Hill. “I know Joe Biden can do it. I'm not sure who else can.”

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However, he and Sanders have been entangled in a weekslong feud over Social Security, interventions in the Middle East, trade and more. 

Biden, a moderate, has repeatedly argued that a centrist is most likely to defeat Trump in a handful of crucial swing states in November while Sanders has maintained that a progressive is best suited to energize the Democratic base and ramp up turnout.

The feud has only escalated in the leadup to the Iowa caucuses set to take place Monday. Polls show Biden and Sanders running neck-and-neck in the Hawkeye State with Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWinners and losers from the South Carolina debate Five takeaways from the Democratic debate Sanders most searched, most tweeted about candidate during Democratic debate MORE (D-Mass.) and former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegWinners and losers from the South Carolina debate Five takeaways from the Democratic debate Sanders most searched, most tweeted about candidate during Democratic debate MORE within striking distance.

Al Weaver contributed to this report