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Will Another Democrat Make A Bid For The Presidency?


And on the Democratic side of the presidential race, presumed front-runner Hillary Clinton is running into some headwinds. Over the weekend, stories emerged about Vice President Joe Biden getting into the race. Here to talk about that and other political news is Cokie Roberts. Good morning.

COKIE ROBERTS, BYLINE: Good morning, Renee.

MONTAGNE: Do you think this is real? Because the vice president has been rather quiet about his ambitions. Does Biden actually want to throw his hat in the ring?

ROBERTS: Well, he's always wanted to be president. We know that. He's run twice before, and it's very normal for a vice president to run, although it's not always necessary that he wins - think Al Gore, Walter Mondale. But there are both internal and external pressures on Joe Biden.

According to the reports over the weekend - before he died, Biden's son, Beau, begged his father to run, so that would be a strong personal push. But there's also, frankly, some nervousness in the Democratic Party about Hillary Clinton and the fact that voters are not seeing her as honest and trustworthy. So what happens in these situations, Renee, is that old hands come to Biden, tell him he has to get in for the good of the party without explaining where they're going to get money or organization. A draft Biden superPAC has hired one of Beau Biden's advisers. And obviously this is something the vice president basically wants to hear, so it might happen. I think he'll probably wait and see to what happens with Hillary in the next few weeks.

MONTAGNE: And what is Hillary Clinton doing to counter this sense that her candidacy is not catching fire?

ROBERTS: Well, tomorrow she goes up with TV ads in Iowa and New Hampshire. It's a $2 million buy. Let's give a listen to one of those ads.


HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: When I think about why I'm doing this, I think about my mother, Dorothy.

ROBERTS: She tells the story of her mother's rough childhood and says she's a fighter for all of the Dorothys out there. So the ads are a big step. But also on Friday she released both financial and health reports as the State Department was busy releasing more of her emails. But I think most important - she went to the Urban League in Florida, and she really energized that crowd of African-American activists and took on Jeb Bush on his own turf. She showed the party that she can be a strong messenger to a group of voters who are very important in terms of a Democratic victory.

MONTAGNE: And Cokie, the Republicans are also finding a way to get to voters who are important to them - social conservatives. After tiptoeing around gay marriage, they seem to be on board for a congressional push to take federal funding away from Planned Parenthood.

ROBERTS: Yes. The Senate is actually expected to vote on that today. Five-hundred million dollars to Planned Parenthood. It comes of course in the wake of those underground tapes where Planned Parenthood staffers seem to be taking the whole question of fetal tissue very casually. And even Hillary Clinton called them disturbing. Republicans in the Senate rushed to take political advantage of that. The House is being a little bit slower saying it has to investigate the situation.

But look, we could find ourselves in the situation where we're up against the end of the fiscal year at the end of September and the government has not yet been funded, and a fight over funding Planned Parenthood could threaten a government shutdown. And then that would get extremely nasty on both sides of the aisle. And the presidential campaign would be playing out in the halls of Congress as in fact it has been all year.

MONTAGNE: Cokie, thank you very much. That's Cokie Roberts. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Cokie Roberts was one of the 'Founding Mothers' of NPR who helped make that network one of the premier sources of news and information in this country. She served as a congressional correspondent at NPR for more than 10 years and later appeared as a commentator on Morning Edition. In addition to her work for NPR, Roberts was a political commentator for ABC News, providing analysis for all network news programming.
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