NBC’s Today Kicks Off Biden 2020 Campaign With Fawning Fanfare

Beginning a book tour for his new memoir, Promise Me, Dad, former Vice President Joe Biden was treated to softball questions from the hosts and a live studio audience on Monday's NBC Today. During the more than 20 minutes of glowing coverage, Biden was repeatedly pressed on whether he was running for president in 2020. The cast of the morning show was giddy at the prospect.

At one point in the 7:00 a.m. half hour interview segment, co-host Savannah Guthrie suggested the former VP would have been a stronger Democratic opponent against Donald Trump in 2016: “Hindsight is 20/20, but now President Trump dispatched 16 Republican opponents and Hillary Clinton. Do you think you could have beaten Donald Trump?”

 

 

Biden replied: “Oh, gosh, I don’t know. I mean, you know, the polling data at the time said yes and since then, but, you know, this is – I wasn’t in the race. You’ve got to be in the race, it’s a tough game.” Fellow co-host Matt Lauer jumped at the chance to push for a presidential run: “I’m glad you said that, you’ve to be in the race. Are you in the race for 2020? Thanks for setting that up, by the way. Are you in the race for 2020?”

After Biden tried to dodge the question, Lauer revealed: “We were in an Irish pub last night and I brought that up last night, ‘I said are you running?’ And instead of answering me, you turned to the crowd and you said, ‘What do you think?’” The Democrat claimed he was “joking” at the time, but Lauer insisted: “And you got a big round of applause. It sounded like a little informal polling to me.”

Guthrie urged Biden to consider it: “But you’re not closing the door on it?” Biden admitted: “No, I’m not closing the door.”

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Later in the 8 a.m. ET half hour, Lauer proudly announced that Biden was “traveling around the country launching what he calls his American Promise Tour to engage with everyday Americans on a whole host of different issues. And we’re happy to say this is his very first stop.”

In addition to taking questions from the studio audience, viewers also sent in questions for the former Vice President on Twitter. Social media anchor Carson Daly touted: “And we’ve got one here from Patricia that says, ‘Do you think your age will be a problem with voters in a presidential race?’” Guthrie chimed in: “Your birthday is next week, I might remind you.” Biden and the crowd laughed at the not-so-subtle 2020 promotion.

Wrapping up the gushing segment several minutes later, Lauer turned to the Biden-friendly group and asked: “Just an informal poll real quickly, does it sound like he’s running? Raise your hand.” Predictably, the entire audience raised their hands.

Lauer then threw to Al Roker for a check of the weather, but Roker couldn’t resist referencing his infamous bromance with Biden: “Well, who knows, maybe in 2021 he’ll come shake my hand along the parade route?”

The biased segments were brought to viewers by AARP, Jeep, and JCPenney.'

Here are excerpts of November 13 coverage that promoted a possible Biden 2020 presidential run:

7:10 AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Hindsight is 20/20, but now President Trump dispatched 16 Republican opponents and Hillary Clinton. Do you think you could have beaten Donald Trump?

JOE BIDEN: Oh, gosh, I don’t know. I mean, you know, the polling data at the time said yes and since then, but, you know, this is – I wasn’t in the race. You’ve got to be in the race, it’s a tough game.

MATT LAUER: I’m glad you said that, you’ve to be in the race. Are you in the race for 2020? Thanks for setting that up, by the way. Are you in the race for 2020?

(...)

LAUER: We were in an Irish pub last night and I brought that up last night, “I said are you running?” And instead of answering me, you turned to the crowd and you said, “What do you think?”

BIDEN: I was joking.

LAUER: And you got a big round of applause. It sounded like a little informal polling to me.

(...)

GUTHRIE: But you’re not closing the door on it?

BIDEN: No, I’m not closing the door.

(...)

8:15 AM ET

CARSON DALY: Guys, we’ve got the #BidenToday. If you’d like to ask a question, you can use that. And we’ve got one here from Patricia that says, “Do you think your age will be a problem with voters in a presidential race?” Switching gears.

GUTHRIE: Your birthday is next week, I might remind you.

(...)

8:20 AM ET

LAUER: On that note, we have run out of time for this segment. Just an informal poll real quickly, does it sound like he’s running? Raise your hand.

[EVERYONE RAISES THEIR HANDS]

[LAUGHTER]

GUTHRIE: If you missed, he just did the sign of the cross.

LAUER: Former Vice President Joe Biden. Vice President Biden, it’s a pleasure to have you here.

BIDEN: Thanks.

LAUER: Thank you so much.

GUTHRIE: Thank you, sir. We appreciate it.

LAUER: Appreciate it.

BIDEN: Thank you, guys.

[APPLAUSE]

LAUER: He’s going to be back, along with his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, for a conversation with Megyn Kelly in our next hour. Let’s get a check of the weather from Al.

AL ROKER: Well, who knows, maybe in 2021 he’ll come shake my hand along the parade route?

[LAUGHTER]


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