The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Dems open mouth on early primary. Joe Biden inserts foot.

28

September

Vice President Joe Biden brought his shoot-from-the hip style to South Florida and just walked all over the talking points of Democratic leaders from Florida to New Hampshire over Florida's early primary.

Democratic leaders have bashed the idea. Not so Biden when asked if there should be one in Florida. “I’m of the view that there should be,” he told WLRN Miami Herald news in an interview that was focused on the American Jobs Act.

Florida’s early presidential preference primary will likely be held Jan. 31. Republicans, who control the Legislature and governor’s mansion, are eying that date to make sure that Florida goes fifth, so that the state’s nomination means something because it’s the largest swing state in the nation. By having an early primary, Florida’s GOP leaders bucked their own party, which will technically penalize the state if the party nominee ultimately needs to be decided in next years Republican National Convention (which is unlikely, since it happens in Tampa).

"It is appalling that Republican leaders in some states are not planning to adhere to the agreed upon calendar for the presidential contest,” New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley said in response to Florida’s decision.

Earlier this month, Florida Democratic Party Chair Rod Smith said: “Both the Republican and Democratic national committees have agreed to rules and those rules need to be followed. I would urge this committee to do just that.”

Enter Biden:

“The big and important states should have a shot to make a difference in the outcome of the nominating process. I think they have to be in it. You have to provide for some small states to be able to be in the deal so that unknown candidates who are qualified, don’t have a lot of money, are able to compete. But the idea that you render California or Pennsylvania or Florida or Michigan obsolete -- that by the time it gets to them it’s all over -- I don’t think represents what primaries should be about. Far be it from me to suggest to the Republicans when they should schedule the Florida primary….. But the point is, anybody who thinks they can walk away from Florida and get elected president -- anybody who thinks they can walk away from Florida and be held harmless in the nominating process, I think is making a gigantic mistake in either of our parties. You are an absolutely critical state…. Your state is a micro of the whole country and the damage done by this god-awful recession -- that began before we came into office and that continued until we broke the back of it and now were on level ground – but a lot of people in your state are hurting badly.”

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 4:03pm]

    

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