CNN’s Zeleny: Biden Is a ‘Generally Excellent’ Campaigner; ‘Authenticity That Is Really Being Craved’

CNN senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny had some fawning words during Thursday’s Anderson Cooper 360 for Vice President Joe Biden as he continues to mull a 2016 presidential campaign, referring to him as a “generally excellent” campaigner with an “authenticity that is really being craved in this election cycle.”

As part of a segment on the possible run by Biden, host Anderson Cooper asked Zeleny to explain “what do we know about him as a campaigner” and “how much of his calculus right now is based on what he perceives Hillary Clinton's abilities as a campaigner or lack of abilities as a campaigner are.”

Zeleny immediately went soft and told Cooper that “Joe Biden's capabilities as a campaigner are generally excellent” and possesses “that authenticity that is really being craved in this election cycle.” He then continued by gushing over Biden’s appeal: “He is, you know, Joe from Scranton. He appeals to the Joe six-pack character.”

Returning briefly to reality, Zeleny acknowledged that he covered Biden’s previous presidential campaign in 2007 and 2008 and mentioned that he failed to make it pass the Iowa caucuses after fetching less than one percent of the vote.

Going right back to praising the Vice President, Zeleny admitted that Biden still “did well in retail political settings” and then elaborated on his current thinking about a mounting a campaign against the five declared Democratic candidates:

He is – he does not believe that he would not be able to put an organization together. He believes that he is a unique figure in the sense, everyone knows who he is, he believes he would have the money there for him. He’s looking at a couple things. One, one of his friend told me that running for president might actually somewhat therapeutic for him as he tries to get over this tragic, tragic loss of his son’s passing and two, he’s also waiting to see how vulnerable Hillary Clinton is with all these e-mails. That's why he is making telephone calls to Democrats. 

It was at that moment that Zeleny wrapped up his reporting:

He’s trying to see – are these, you know, just concerns or deep question as but her actual viability going forward? And so far, there aren't. He is hearing some criticism of her, but I'm told by some people who are in his orbit that those are his calculations right now. 

The relevant portion of the transcript from CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 on August 13 can be found below.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360
August 13, 2015
8:05 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE CAPTION: Biden: His Time?; Campaign Decision Expected Soon]

ANDERSON COOPER: Jeff, what do we know about him as a campaigner? And I ask that because we don’t – we can't get inside his head, but I'm curious to know and would love to know how much of his calculus right now is based on what he perceives Hillary Clinton's abilities as a campaigner or lack of abilities as a campaigner are. 

JEFF ZELENY: Anderson, Joe Biden's capabilities as a campaigner are generally excellent. He has that authenticity that is really being craved in this election cycle. He is, you know, Joe from Scranton. He appeals to the Joe six-pack character. I remember covering his race in 2007 and early 2008 and Nia is right. It didn’t go beyond here in Iowa, but he did well in retail political settings. Anderson, I'm told the calculus is this. He is – he does not believe that he would not be able to put an organization together. He believes that he is a unique figure in the sense, everyone knows who he is, he believes he would have the money there for him. He’s looking at a couple things. One, one of his friend told me that running for president might actually somewhat therapeutic for him as he tries to get over this tragic, tragic loss of his son’s passing and two, he’s also waiting to see how vulnerable Hillary Clinton is with all these e-mails. That's why he is making telephone calls to Democrats. He’s trying to see – are these, you know, just concerns or deep question as but her actual viability going forward? And so far, there aren't. He is hearing some criticism of her, but I'm told by some people who are in his orbit that those are his calculations right now. 

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Media Bias Debate Liberals & Democrats Political Scandals CNN Anderson Cooper 360 Video Jeff Zeleny Anderson Cooper Joe Biden
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