- Early in the 2020 Democratic nomination process, Joe Biden stumbled in Iowa and New Hampshire.
- Reporter Jonathan Allen said that Biden staffers suggested that the candidate refinance his home.
- Biden turned around his campaign by winning South Carolina and performing strongly on Super Tuesday.
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Early last year, questions were beginning to swirl about President Joe Biden’s longevity in the Democratic nomination process.
As a former vice president, Biden had universal name recognition in the Democratic primaries and caucuses, but he was competing against boldfaced names like Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg while also fending off steam from an ascendant Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.
During an episode of “The New Abnormal,” a podcast at The Daily Beast, editor-at-large Molly Jong-Fast admitted to underestimating Biden’s campaign while speaking with NBC News senior political reporter Jonathan Allen. Allen cowrote the new book “Lucky: How Biden Barely Won the Presidency” with Amie Parnes, a senior correspondent at The Hill.
“I would like to take a minute to talk about being wrong about Biden,” she told Allen.
Allen said the prognosis for Biden’s campaign was so dire that staffers even suggested that he refinance his home to pump additional funds into his campaign after the Iowa loss.
“It’s not the most unheard-of thing for a candidate to do it,” Allen said, but “a presidential candidate doesn’t do that.”
“The subtext of going to him to tell him that it might be time to just wrap up the campaign,” Allen said. “To Joe Biden’s everlasting credit, he believed in himself.”
In the book, Allen and Parnes detailed the enormous clout that Clyburn possessed in the Palmetto State.
“Biden was desperate to get Clyburn’s endorsement,” they wrote. “Very few endorsements carry weight in modern politics. In South Carolina, though, a perception had built up that Clyburn’s imprimatur meant everything. Voters believed it, the media believed it, and even most political insiders thought there was at least a good helping of truth in it.”
They added: “There was no Black political figure in the history of the state who had more influence with Black voters in South Carolina or across the Deep South.”
The South Carolina victory brought Biden’s candidacy back to life, translating to a slew of Super Tuesday wins, including unexpected victories in states like Massachusetts and Texas.