Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, in Hampton, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Photo: Elise Amendola/AP
Photo: Elise Amendola/AP

N.H. Notebook: Abrams has more VP competition, Romney gets a roar

HUDSON, New Hampshire – If former Vice President Joe Biden winds up winning the party’s presidential nomination, Stacey Abrams has some new competition for a slot as his running mate.

Biden has mentioned the Georgia Democrat as a potential No. 2 if he emerges as the nominee – as have multiple other contenders – and she’s made clear that she’s interested in the job. 

But at a stop in Hudson on Sunday, Biden offered his most detailed remarks about his calculus for the pick, singling out presidential contender Pete Buttigieg even as he flatly dismissed U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders.

“There are at least four people running that in fact are simpatico with where I am, starting with Indiana” – Buttigieg is mayor of South Bend, Ind. – “and starting with other places.”

Responding to a question about a Democratic “dream team,” Biden said he didn’t want to sound “presumptuous” as he proceeded to lay out a detailed assessment of whom he might pick.

Beyond mentioning Buttigieg, he said that he wants someone “younger than I am” – that also means former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg is a no go– and someone who is “ready on Day One to be president.” 

He added: “There has be to some correlation between their views and mine,” adding that contenders who insist on a Medicare for All initiative – which Sanders has made a top priority – would be a “real problem” for him. 

It was an odd juxtaposition: Biden had kind words for Buttigieg even as he assailed him for having too little experience to defeat President Donald Trump. 

It may well be a moot point, of course. After a distant finish in Iowa’s caucus, Biden is already downplaying his expectations in New Hampshire’s Tuesday primary. And polls show a tightening race in South Carolina, his Southern firewall. 

Why the AJC sends reporters to other presidential primary states

Atlanta Journal-Constitution political reporter Greg Bluestein is in New Hampshire covering the lead-up to Tuesday's Democratic primary, as well as the results of the election.

Why would a Georgia paper send a reporter out of state when there is abundant political news at home? New Hampshire and Georgia are two very different states, but voters in both share many of the same concerns and the same national picture.

Early voting for Georgia’s March 24 presidential primary begins March 2, less than a month after the primary. That means the story coming out of New Hampshire will influence what happens here.

Bluestein will also follow a number of Georgians from both parties who are spending time in early primary states to support their candidates. Their stories are part of the larger tale of Georgia’s role in the presidential contest.

 

MoreIn New Hampshire, rising Democratic tensions divide 2020 candidates

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., pauses while speaking at "Our Rights, Our Courts" forum New Hampshire Technical Institute's Concord Community College, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020, in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP

Oh, the irony

SALEM, N.H. – It was a surreal moment in a campaign full of them. 

At U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s rally at a middle school in Salem, the mention of Mitt Romney’s vote to convict President Donald Trump drew boisterous cheers from a crowd of about 200. 

That wasn’t lost on Klobuchar, who praised the Utah senator’s “courage and conviction” before adding: 

“We know the world is upside down when a Democratic rally is cheering for the former Republican nominee for president.” 

Meanwhile, in Republican circles back home in Georgia ...

'Betrayed.' Romney quickly becomes toxic in 2020 Georgia

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) shakes President Donald Trump’s hand at a rally in November 2019. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)

A logistical crunch

HUDSON, N.H. – The dense cluster of towns in southern New Hampshire are plenty easier to get around than Iowa, where campaign stops are sometimes hours apart on opposite sides of the Midwestern state.

Still, Joe Biden’s lengthy town hall gave reporters a logistics crunch. 

The former vice president took questions from members of the audience at a high school gym long after he was expected to leave, and repeatedly said – only half jokingly – that his staff was probably fretting that he stayed so long.

While it yielded some provocative answers, it forced reporters who were planning to attend nearby events for rival candidates to make a stay-or-go choice. Several bolted before he was done to try to make it to events for Mayor Pete Buttigieg or Amy Klobuchar.

Monday will bring an even stiffer logistical challenge. Five of the top candidates will hold dueling events throughout the day around the same times, while President Donald Trump is set to stage a rally at 7 p.m. 

The catch: Reporters must get to Trump’s event in Manchester at least three-and-a-half hours earlier to attend, making it impossible to swing by any other evening event. 

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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