Biden Refuses The New York Times An Interview That Features 21 Other Candidates. Is He Minimizing Appearances As Much As Possible?

Reuters/Jordan Gale

Ellie Gardey Contributor
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The New York Times invited 22 Democratic presidential candidates to be interviewed on camera, and only Joe Biden declined, potentially showing a larger trend for the former vice president’s campaign.

“Joseph R. Biden Jr. declined to participate despite repeated requests since late April,” The New York Times said of Biden’s absence in the near-comprehensive interview project.

The interviews, published Wednesday, show 21 candidates answering a series of 18 questions ranging from “How many hours of sleep do you get a night?” to “Do you think illegal immigration is a major problem in the United States?” The sessions took place between early March and early June. 

The Times likened their endeavor to a job interview for president. “It was like a job interview — on camera — to learn why they believe they should lead the United States,” the newspaper said on Twitter.

The digital creators at The New York Times set aside an entire video for each of the 18 questions. Each video consists of a hodgepodge of short answers given by the candidates. The Times asked the candidates to first respond briefly “with a simple yes or no, or another terse, direct reply,” and then afterwards explain their answer in depth.

With the candidates’ responses mashed up against one another, the videos have the effect of clearly distinguishing the perspectives, temperaments, and attitudes of each of the candidates.

Steven Drahozal, the chairman of the Dubuque County Democratic Party in Iowa, told The Daily Caller that Biden’s decision to decline an interview with the Times could be a result of him possibly acting like an incumbent.

He said that Biden’s decision to skip the Times interview also shows he is “staying above the fray” as the frontrunner. According to Drahozal, it is possible Biden is taking “a page out of Obama’s book” from 2008 in that Obama sometimes kept a lower profile. 

Drahozal noted he was grateful Biden made Dubuque County the location of his first campaign event in the primary. (RELATED: Biden’s First Move As President? Kill The Trump Tax Cuts)

The New York Times’ senior editor for special projects, Dan Saltzstein, blasted Biden for not participating in the project, saying The New York Times feature was “terrific,” but “apparently not worth Joe Biden’s” time. 

This is the latest in a series of campaign appearances Biden has passed on.

Biden was not present at the Iowa Democratic Party’s annual Hall of Fame dinner on June 9 where almost all of the Democratic candidates spoke. He strongly defended his decision not to attend the dinner: ”My granddaughter was graduating. It was my daughter’s birthday. I would skip inauguration for that.”

He also skipped out on the California Democratic Party Convention, where the majority of Democratic candidates were present, and his campaign even issued an apology to the event attendees for his absence.

Biden has a noticeably lighter schedule than the other candidates, as he currently ranks 23rd in the number of campaign visits held by a candidate in Iowa. 

Biden, who has perhaps the highest name recognition in the sizable field of Democratic candidates, has been been polling at the top of the pack since announcing his candidacy. However, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren have recently been making gains on him in Iowa polling.

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