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Pelosi: 'I'm not counting Joe Biden out'

Pelosi: 'I'm not counting Joe Biden out'
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Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSenators shed masks after CDC lifts mandate House extends proxy voting to July On The Money: IRS to start monthly payments of child tax credit July 15 | One-fourth of Americans took financial hits in 2020: Fed MORE (D-Calif.) says in a new interview that she is not counting former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden's quiet diplomacy under pressure as Israel-Hamas fighting intensifies Overnight Defense: Administration approves 5M arms sale to Israel | Biden backs ceasefire in call with Netanyahu | Military sexual assault reform push reaches turning point CDC mask update sparks confusion, opposition MORE out of the Democratic presidential race after two disappointing finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire.

“I think every one of our candidates ... would be a better president than the current occupant of the White House,” Pelosi, who has not endorsed any of the 2020 contenders, said in an interview on CNN that aired Saturday.

“Frankly, with all the respect in the world for Iowa and New Hampshire, I’m not counting Joe Biden out,” she added. “There are still race[s] ahead that are much more representative of the country.”

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Biden, who was long viewed as a front-runner in the Democratic race, has slipped in polls following fourth- and fifth-place showings this month in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, respectively.

The former vice president has maintained that he remains in a strong position in the race and has sought to shore up support in South Carolina, where he has led among a more diverse base ahead of that state's voting contest on Feb. 29.

“I’ve said many times, you can’t be the nominee, you can’t win the general election as a Democrat unless you have the overwhelming support of black and brown voters,” Biden told supporters this week, noting that “99.9 percent” of the country’s African Americans have yet to cast a ballot in the nominating contest. 

However, political strategists and observers have wondered if more diverse voters in later nominating states could be turned off by Biden’s losses thus far and whether they may begin considering other candidates who have posted stronger showings.

“If you are starting to pay attention to the race just now, you’re not hearing that Biden is the front-runner,” Caitlin Jewitt, an assistant professor of political science at Virginia Tech, told The Hill. “You’re hearing that [Sen. Bernie] Sanders [I-Vt.] is the front-runner, [former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete] Buttigieg is doing better than expected and [Sen. Amy] Klobuchar [D-Minn.] is doing better than expected.” 

Regardless of who wins the party’s 2020 nomination, Pelosi expressed confidence that President TrumpDonald TrumpGOP-led Maricopa County board decries election recount a 'sham' Analysis: Arpaio immigration patrol lawsuit to cost Arizona county at least 2 million Conservatives launch 'anti-cancel culture' advocacy organization MORE would be defeated in November.

“I can’t even envision a situation in which he’d be reelected, but you can’t take anything for granted,” she said.