Wednesday, February 26, 2020

New Hampshire, a test of truth for Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar

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Former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden, presidential candidate, campaigned in Gilford, New Hampshire, on February 10. Andrew Harnik / AP

A mixture of snow and rain drowns the small town of Gilford, Monday morning February 10. Joe Biden has gathered his supporters in the basement of a Baptist church to try to keep afloat a campaign badly shaken by a disappointing fourth place finish in Iowa, which could repeat itself in New Hampshire. The attendance is modest and the undecided numerous.

Cindy, a sexagenarian who came out of curiosity, has already made her choice but she will vote Tuesday for the youngest in the race, Pete Buttigieg. "He embodies the future, I don't want to be mean to Joe Biden but it seems like he's out of juice", she slips. One of her neighbors, Diana, had originally decided to vote for the former vice president, then other candidates drew his attention. "Maybe I'll come back to my first choice"she said, still hesitant.

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When he speaks, Joe Biden concentrates on what was at the heart of his speech until his poor result in Iowa prompted him to attack the two winners, Pete Buttigieg and Vermont senator Bernie Sanders. "It is an election to restore the soul of our nation"he assured before blaming Donald Trump for criticism. As regularly at his public meetings, the former vice president dwells more on the past, on his balance sheet, or his painful personal ordeals, than he projects his audience into the future.

Another bad result would make it more difficult to fund his campaign, when for the first time on Monday a national poll, that of Quinnipiac University, placed him clearly behind Bernie Sanders. With 51% of voting intentions against 50% for the former vice-president, the Vermont senator even narrowly obtains a better result than him in the event of a duel in November with the outgoing president, Donald Trump. Joe Biden told NBC he can't wait to get to Nevada and South Carolina as soon as possible. They are two states more sociologically diverse than Iowa and New Hampshire, overwhelmingly made up of white voters.

The resilience of Elizabeth Warren

A little further east, in the city of Rochester, Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren gathers her supporters in the hall of the municipal opera house. The time is also in doubt among its faithful who hope, without being sure yet, that it can at least appear in the top three on Tuesday evening, as in Iowa a week earlier. On stage, the senator strives to reassure by recalling past episodes of her political career during which she has shown resilience.

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