Biden Says He Would Debate Trump Via Video: Campaign Update

Jennifer Epstein
Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden is so eager to debate President Donald Trump he’s even willing to face off via video.

“I’m ready to debate President Trump on Zoom or Skype anytime he wants,” Biden said in an Instagram interview with Enrique Santos, the chairman and chief creative officer of iHeartLatino, which is part of iHeartMedia, Inc.

Biden said he expected to see “a lot more planning” for how to run the November general election amid the coronavirus threat, including the broader adoption of mail-in ballots.

The candidate was speaking from the TV studio that was built in the basement of his Wilmington, Delaware, home to accommodate a wide range of interviews and livestreams as he’s cut off campaign travel to avoid coronavirus risks.

Biden in Tight Race With Trump in Wisconsin (2:59 p.m.)

Joe Biden has inched higher against President Donald Trump among Wisconsin voters, according to a poll released Wednesday by Marquette University Law School.

The former vice president has a slight edge over the incumbent president, leading 48% to 45% in a general election matchup, though the results are within the poll’s margin of error of 4.2 percentage points. In February, the two candidates were tied 46% to 46%.

In the Democratic nomination race, Biden beats Sanders 62% to 34% among Democratic voters in Wisconsin. Biden has a nearly insurmountable lead of more than 300 delegates in that contest.

Sixty-two percent of voters believe the Democratic National Convention slated to be held in Milwaukee in July should not be an in-person event amid the outbreak of coronavirus. Only 22% of voters said it should proceed as is. DNC officials have said they are exploring contingency options but have not changed plans for the event. -- Emma Kinery

West Virginia Postpones Primary to June 9 (1:09 p.m.)

The Democratic primary calendar just won’t stay put.

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice announced at a press briefing Tuesday that the state would push its primary from May 12 to June 9.

“I was absolutely hopeful and very supportive of trying to do our election on May the 12th,” he said. “As we continue to get closer and closer, it’s ever so apparent that that’s just absolutely the wrong thing to do.”

That would move West Virginia to almost the end of the primary process, with only Louisiana, Kentucky and New York coming later.

West Virginia joins 14 states and Puerto Rico, which have already postponed primaries.

West Virginia has seen a jump in coronavirus cases in recent days, to 191, just two weeks after President Donald Trump praised Justice for having zero cases in his state. -- Ryan Teague Beckwith

Conway Hits Biden Over Virus Criticism (11:11 a.m.)

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway took a shot at Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden on Wednesday, calling his criticism of President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic “petty” and “small.”

“Why doesn’t Vice President Biden call the White House today and offer some support? He’s in his bunker in Wilmington,” Conway said Wednesday on Fox News, referring to the makeshift studio in Biden’s Delaware home where he has made television appearances.

“It’s very disappointing when you see that criticism. I think the critics and the naysayers seem so much more small and so much more small and unhelpful and petty than they ever have,” Conway added.

Biden has delivered a series of speeches and TV interviews in which he called Trump’s virus response insufficient and urged the president to take more drastic steps like using the Defense Production Act more broadly to order companies to manufacture much-needed medical equipment. The former vice president also posted a response plan on his campaign website that calls for free testing and expanded emergency family leave, among other steps.

“The coronavirus is not the president’s fault, but the slow response, the failure to get going right away, the inability to do the things that needed to be done quickly, they are things that they can’t continue,” Biden said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” -- Jordan Fabian

Biden Doubts Convention Will Happen as Planned (12:23 a.m.)

Joe Biden expressed doubts Tuesday that the Democratic National Convention could go on as planned this summer in Milwaukee, citing continued concerns about containing the coronavirus outbreak.

“It’s hard to envision that,” the Democratic front-runner said in an interview on MSNBC. “Again, we should listen to the scientists.”

The Democratic National Committee has been exploring contingency options for the convention, which is scheduled for July 13-16, but it has not made any final decisions. President Donald Trump said last Thursday that the Republican National Convention, slated for the end of August, would go forward.

In his interview, Biden also said states should prepare for the possibility of remote voting in November. The former vice president added that he was beginning to lay the groundwork to select his running mate, saying a team to oversee that process will be in place by mid-April.

Biden said six to 10 women would likely make the list, including Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Although Biden has not officially secured the nomination, he holds an all-but-insurmountable lead in delegates. But Senator Bernie Sanders remains in the race and has given no indication that he plans to drop out.

Biden said he feels “confident” about being the nominee and his staff has been in contact with Sanders’s to discuss “a way we could accommodate his concerns” on a range of issues. -- Tyler Pager

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