Joe Biden says he’s not concerned about support from young caucusgoers in an interview with The Daily Iowan

In an interview with The Daily Iowan two days ahead of the Iowa caucuses, Joe Biden says he's not concerned about garnering support from young people on caucus night and emphasized his record on advocating for gender equality.

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Wyatt Dlouhy

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event in North Liberty on Saturday, February 1, 2020. With the Iowa Caucuses happening in two days, former Vice President Biden stopped to give a last minute pitch to Iowa voters.

Julia Shanahan, Politics Editor


As Joe Biden makes his final swings through the state two days before the Iowa caucuses, he said he’s not concerned about his appeal to young and first-time caucusgoers and defended his record on advocating for women’s rights in an interview with The Daily Iowan. 

“[President Trump] is a man who in fact does not does not share the values of the Constitution … that is damaging us,” Biden said in an interview with the DI. “Not only at home — he’s pitting men against women, the way he talks about women, the way he deals with women, the way in which he deals with the whole issue of race.”

Biden held a town hall in North Liberty Saturday morning, where over 300 people gathered to hear Biden before heading out on Feb. 3 to decide whom to caucus for. Biden touted his years of progress as a U.S. senator from Delaware and as former vice president, pointing to the passing of, what he called, some of the first steps to universal health care with a public option.

Biden emphasized in the interview that his two major priorities as president will be to stop violence against women and to cure cancer. In 2015, Biden’s son died of brain cancer at 46 years old.

Anita Hill visited the University of Iowa Jan. 23, where she called out Biden for his role as the chairman of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991 when Hill accused then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment. Biden denied the testimony of three other women who also accused Thomas of sexual harassment.

Biden defended his record of advocating for women, pointing to the Violence Against Women Act he proposed in 1990. In 2014, Biden created a White House task force as vice president under Barack Obama to help prevent sexual assault on college campuses, and denied Title IX funds to universities who were not enforcing sexual assault rules and regulations.

For young women who are considering supporting Biden on caucus night, he said he wants them to know that he’s going to continue fighting for gender equality, and that he’s proud the #MeToo movement has allowed women to come forward and draw boundaries. 

“I think Anita Hill deserves significant credit … and she did not get a fair shake in the process,” Biden said. “I told her that, she knows that, and it’s not a question of apologizing, it’s a question of how do we change the rules to be able to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”

Biden called Hill to apologize in April 2019, but Hill said at the UI that “the statute of limitations was up” on his apology.

Last spring, several women came forward with allegations against Biden, saying that he touched them inappropriately. Biden never directly apologized, and told the DI that he never touched them inappropriately, and that they came forward with questionable motivations.

“I have to understand things have changed,” Biden said, saying that he’s more self-aware when stepping into a women’s space or shaking their hands. 

Biden has struggled to garner support from young caucusgoers. A Jan. 13 poll from Monmouth University showed 13 percent of likely caucusgoers between the ages of 18-49 would caucus for Biden as a first-choice candidate, behind Bernie Sanders with 26 percent and Elizabeth Warren with 22 percent. 

Biden said he does not think his moderate-Democratic platform will affect his support among young people on caucus night. He said that since he jumped into the race months after Sanders and Warren, the two farther-left leaning candidates were able to start building their on-the-ground support earlier on. 

“Bernie has been out there a long, long time running, and he’s, to his credit, build up a base,” Biden said to the DI. “Elizabeth has as well.”

Sanders and Warren both announced their candidacies in February 2019, and Biden officially launched his campaign in April 2019. Both Sanders and Warren do have a large ground-game in Iowa — both have thousands of volunteers and over 100 paid staffers. 

UI student-organization Hawk the Vote hosted a mock caucus on campus Friday night, to simulate what a caucus will be like for students who have never experienced the process. Biden was not viable after the first alignment.

“The most important thing I think for a public official to have is the empathy and understanding of what happened to somebody,” Biden said.

 

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