Biden won't say Sanders could unify Democrats

Bernie Sanders (left) and Joe Biden - AP images

'I just think that it depends upon how we treat one another between now and the time we have a nominee.'

Posted: Jan 28, 2020 6:29 PM

MUSCATINE, Iowa (AP) — Former Vice President Joe Biden wouldn't say Tuesday whether he thinks Bernie Sanders could effectively unify the Democrats if the Vermont senator wins the party's presidential nomination.

“We have to unite," Biden told reporters in Muscatine, six days before the Iowa caucuses. “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.”

Biden has previously promised to support the Democratic nominee, regardless of who it is. At some stops along the campaign trail, Biden has pledged to “work like hell” to help any of his rivals defeat Trump. The Biden campaign said Tuesday afternoon that the former vice president would support the eventual nominee.

Yet tensions are rising between Biden and Sanders on the campaign trail. The two men reflect the larger ideological battle between a Democratic establishment in which Biden has spent his career and the progressive left that has surged in influence since Sanders' failed bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016.

The two have jousted over their records on Social Security, foreign policy and trade. Sanders recently apologized to Biden after one of the senator's high-profile supporters penned a column asserting that Biden has a “corruption problem.” And Biden has ratcheted up his suggestions in recent days, without naming Sanders, that the party will lose big in November if it makes a sharp leftward turn.

Asked later Tuesday whether he can defeat Sanders, a democratic socialist elected in Vermont as an independent, Biden smiled, nodded and then boarded his campaign bus. Biden is in the middle of his final tour of the state before the Monday caucuses begin Democrats’ 2020 voting. Sanders is balancing his campaign with Trump's Senate impeachment trial on Capitol Hill.

Polls ahead of the Iowa caucuses suggest Sanders and Biden are in a tight race with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana. Sanders has confidently predicted victory in Iowa and in the Feb. 11 New Hampshire primary that follows, telling his supporters that the party establishment is “nervous” about his strength. His advisers argue that such momentum would dent Biden’s long-standing advantage in most national polls of Democratic voters.

Biden’s advisers maintain that the state is a toss-up, and they’ve said for months that the former vice president doesn’t have to win in Iowa because he maintains a wide advantage among nonwhite voters who will have strong sway over states that vote after Iowa and New Hampshire.

Last week, Sanders' 2016 rival for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton, initially refused to say whether she would endorse the Vermont senator if he wins the 2020 nomination — “I'm not going to go there yet," she said — and she offered a broad condemnation of his style of politics. Later, she walked back her comments, saying her No. 1 priority was “retiring Trump” and that “as I always have, I will do whatever I can to support our nominee.”

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Ramsey3019124
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Nobles15395
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Washington63632
Olmsted62610
Kandiyohi4961
Rice4622
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Clay42328
Mower3182
Todd3160
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Sherburne2432
Carver2102
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Steele1580
Blue Earth1400
Martin1305
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Freeborn1170
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Wilkin113
Wadena100
Pope90
Aitkin80
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Lincoln50
Redwood50
Big Stone50
Renville50
Red Lake40
Grant40
Lac qui Parle30
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Traverse30
Houston20
Hubbard20
Roseau20
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Kittson10
Stevens10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 19521

Reported Deaths: 535
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk4227126
Woodbury275034
Black Hawk174644
Linn95577
Dallas90421
Marshall89416
Buena Vista7830
Johnson6149
Wapello59310
Muscatine55741
Crawford5162
Tama40327
Scott35910
Dubuque34418
Louisa34411
Sioux2750
Pottawattamie2638
Jasper26016
Washington1898
Wright1690
Plymouth1322
Warren1320
Allamakee1214
Story1151
Mahaska9410
Poweshiek908
Henry711
Bremer706
Des Moines631
Boone620
Clinton611
Taylor560
Clarke550
Guthrie503
Cedar471
Benton431
Webster401
Monroe385
Shelby370
Hamilton370
Jones360
Clayton353
Buchanan330
Iowa330
Osceola330
Marion320
Cerro Gordo291
Madison282
Cherokee280
Lee270
Fayette270
Jefferson270
Lyon240
Monona240
Winneshiek240
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Davis220
Dickinson210
Grundy200
Mills190
Floyd191
Sac190
Humboldt180
Hardin170
Lucas170
Clay160
Butler161
Hancock160
Delaware150
Emmet150
Keokuk150
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Ida140
Franklin130
Page130
Greene130
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Cass120
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