Coons confident Biden can bump up numbers

DOVER — Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., opined on Vice President Joe Biden’s possible presidential run and the Benghazi committee hearings involving Hillary Clinton Monday in an interview with CNN’s “New Day.”

Sen. Coons previously has said he would support Vice President Biden if the Democrat, who represented Delaware in the Senate from 1973 to 2009, seeks the presidency. Much speculation has surrounded Vice President Biden in recent months, as he is rumored to be mulling a campaign. According to media reports, he could make a decision soon.

If he did enter, he seemingly would face an uphill climb, having to establish a campaign infrastructure and raise money across the country, all with the first primaries just months away and with Ms. Clinton holding a sizable lead.

A CNN/ORC International poll released Monday has Ms. Clinton, the former secretary of state, receiving support from 45 percent of Democrats, while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is at 29 percent and Vice President Biden at 18.

Sen. Chris Coons

Sen. Chris Coons

However, Sen. Coons is confident the vice president quickly would “change all of the numbers” if he entered the race.

“The one thing he’s got, as the sitting vice president, as someone who served in the Senate for 36 years, is an undeniable record as one of American’s strongest voices for our middle class, as someone who is very authentic — he is who he is and you know when he speaks you’re hearing from his heart — but he’s also got decades of senior experience in national security and foreign policy, so he does have the room to make a decision that’s really right for him and his family,” he said Monday.

The vice president has been mourning the death of his son, 46-year-old Beau Biden, who died of brain cancer in May.

He is “deeply torn” by the struggle with his grief and the desire to fulfill Beau Biden’s wishes and seek the White House, Sen. Coons said. He noted friends and colleagues are giving the vice president space, but Sen. Coons expects him to make a decision soon, as time is running out.

Sen. Coons also discussed the United States House Select Committee on Benghazi, which is investigating the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, in which killed four Americans were killed. Ms. Clinton, the secretary of state at the time, will testify Thursday.

Sen. Coons criticized the committee as “the worst sort of politically motivated fishing expedition.”

“They’ve had more than a dozen hearings on Benghazi in the House and the Senate, open hearings, classified hearings, and I don’t see that this select committee on Benghazi has done anything other than waste millions of dollars in taxpayer money in continuing to grind over the same ground,” he said.

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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