Political News

#2020Vision: Biden's wide-open door; Harris takes a DACA stand; Warren opens up to Hill reporters

Posted October 27, 2017 10:26 a.m. EDT

— Our weekly roundup of the news, notes and chatter about the prospects for the next Democratic presidential race:

Former Vice President Joe Biden says he hasn't decided yet if he's going to run for president in 2020, but he left open the possibility in a Vanity Fair interview published Wednesday. "I haven't decided to run," he told Vanity Fair. "But I've decided I'm not going to decide not to run. We'll see what happens."

He said that if his late son Beau Biden hadn't fallen ill, he would have run for president. "No question," he said in the interview. "I had planned on running, and I wasn't running against Hillary or Bernie or anybody else. Honest to God, I thought that I was the best suited for the moment to be President."

In a separate interview with InStyle, Biden said of 2020: "I'm familiar with the issues, and I think I could bring some talent there. So it's not that I don't think I'm equipped to do the job. We'll just see."

Biden's book is scheduled to be released November 14. That'll lead to another big round of interviews and news-making excerpts --- so more Biden 2020 speculation (and on-the-record musing from Biden himself) is coming soon.

One more Biden note: He appeared in a public service announcement with Lady Gaga this week, urging action against sexual assault. "It's on us, it's on everyone to intervene --- to stop abuse when they see it, and when they hear about it, to intervene," Biden says in the video.

News and notes:

HARRIS TAKES DACA STAND: California Sen. Kamala Harris was the first senator to announce she'll oppose an end-of-year spending bill if lawmakers aren't yet "clear about what we are going to do to protect and take care of" the undocumented immigrants brought into the United States as children whose status is now uncertain after President Donald Trump announced he'd eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

--- Harris has some weekend political travel. She's in Rhode Island on Friday to raise money with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. Then, on Saturday, she's back in Washington delivering the keynote speech at the Human Rights Campaign's national dinner --- where Hillary Clinton and Amazon's Jeff Bezos will also be on hand. And Sunday, Harris is in Richmond, campaigning for Virginia candidates ahead of the state's November 7 election.

WARREN'S STOPS FOR HILL REPORTERS: Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren stopped to talk with CNN's Jeremy Herb about the Niger ambush after Pentagon officials briefed lawmakers Thursday. If you're a Capitol Hill reporter, you already might be surprised: Warren is known for almost never stopping for interviews with congressional reporters. Warren seems to be opening up in recent weeks and it's fair to read her warming up to the national media as possible 2020 preparation.

BOOKER COMES TO MENENDEZ'S DEFENSE: Sen. Cory Booker came to the defense of his New Jersey colleague, Sen. Bob Menendez, this week. He testified in the senior senator's corruption trial, saying: "Bob has not forgotten where he comes from. He is someone who has known poverty and insecurity and what is honorable about him to me is that when I go home, and I am reminded of who I'm fighting for, I know Bob Menendez doesn't just have my back but has their backs." In a rare display of bipartisan unity, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham also testified for Menendez.

CUOMO, SANDERS IN PUERTO RICO: Two 2020 prospects --- Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo --- were separately in Puerto Rico late this week, on visits that, in Cuomo's case in particular, will be seen as signs of national ambitions. Sanders on Friday is meeting with San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, touring the island and holding meetings about how Congress can help Puerto Rico's hurricane recovery efforts. Cuomo on Thursday tweeted: "The federal government has said it can't stay in Puerto Rico forever, but New York isn't leaving until the job is done."

STEYER'S LAUNCH? Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer's $10-million-plus advertising campaign calling for Donald Trump's impeachment has him on the air everywhere --- with more ads in the Washington market than the Virginia gubernatorial candidates whose election is fewer than two weeks away. It's being seen as a big opening salvo as Steyer considers runs for office --- including California governor, the Senate or president in 2020.

MARK CUBAN'S PARTY SURPRISE: Billionaire Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says if he runs for president in 2020, he would do so as a Republican --- meaning he'd primary Trump. "I think there's a place for somebody who's socially a centrist but I'm very fiscally conservative," he said.

DISPATCH FROM THE DEM MINES from CNN's Gregory Krieg: There will be no 2018 Democratic primary bloodbath. The party can thank Bernie Sanders and his allies, who kept their eyes down ballot, and moderates like West Virginia's Joe Manchin, who kept close to the base and so didn't invite unrest from the #resistance. Outside of California, where Sen. Dianne Feinstein faces a fight, and a few feisty Houses races aside, most of the heat is coming from gubernatorial contests.

Iowa is interesting, crowded and (expected to be) intense, with seven candidates and no clear favorite. Cathy Glasson, a nurse and union leader is the likely Berniecrat pick and businessman Fred Hubbell --- already up with TV ads last Friday! --- are a couple buzzy names. Also to watch: Does a progressive challenger emerge to take on Cuomo, a potential 2020er, in New York? And who survives what's going to be a pricey primary in Illinois -- a Pritzker or a Kennedy? Here are a few more to keep eyeballs on.

The week ahead:

--- Saturday, October 28 --- Kamala Harris keynotes a Human Rights Campaign dinner in Washington that will also feature Hillary Clinton, Amazon's Jeff Bezos and Gold Star father Khizr Khan.

--- Saturday, October 28 --- Bernie Sanders, as part of his single-payer health care push, is in Toronto, where he will tour Women's College Hospital, Mount Sinai Hospital and Toronto General Hospital. He will also hold a roundtable conversation with participants including a Canadian doctor, patient, policy maker, hospital administrator and pharmacist.

--- Sunday, October 29 --- Harris and former Attorney General Eric Holder campaign for Democratic candidates in Richmond, in what will be Holder's second day in the state, ahead of the November 7 election there. They'll each do several events, but the big one is at The Pearl at 1 p.m. ET.

--- Sunday, October 29 --- Sanders holds a speech and discussion with Dr. Danielle Martin at the University of Toronto on what the United States can learn from Canada's health care system. The event will be live streamed at 11 a.m. ET on Sanders' Facebook page.

--- Monday, October 30 --- Sanders campaigns with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio at 7 p.m. ET at Terminal 5.

Before you go:

DNC chair Tom Perez expects "a double-digit number of candidates" in the 2020 Democratic presidential race. ... Maryland Rep. John Delaney says his unusually early entrance into the 2020 race is inspired by Jimmy Carter's out-of-nowhere win in 1976. ... Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg's 10-month charm offensive across the United States was interpreted in some quarters as potential 2020 prep, but new data shows it hasn't changed the public's perception of him.