Biden Opens Up at Town Hall About Stuttering: Campaign Update

2020-02-05 20:31:07

(Bloomberg) — Joe Biden opened up about his stuttering in a CNN town hall, discussing a very personal subject he has rarely addressed in public.

Asked by a pastor for his advice for a young person who stutters, the former vice president had some practical advice from his own experience.

He said stutterers should practice public speaking by reciting poetry — saying lines from Ralph Waldo Emerson and Seamus Heaney from memory — and divide the work into smaller chunks with slash marks. He also advised parents of stutterers not to finish their sentences for them.

Biden said that he still sometimes has trouble when he’s tired or if he’s reading from a piece of paper. He also connected it to his concerns about the direction of the country under President Donald Trump.

“We just have to reach out a little more for people, man. We don’t do it enough. We’ve got to heal this country,” he said. “We didn’t use to be like this. Some were, but we weren’t as a nation. We weren’t like this.”

Iowa Democrats Release 92% of Results (8:54 p.m.)

The Iowa Democratic Party has released more results from Monday’s caucus.

With 92% of precincts reporting, Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders are still at the top with 26.5% and 25.6%, respectively. Elizabeth Warren has 18.2% and Joe Biden is still in fourth at 15.9%.

This is a developing story. Check back for more details.

Sanders Holds Lead in NH Poll (4:18 p.m.)

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders holds a comfortable lead before next week’s New Hampshire primary with nearly double the support of Pete Buttigieg and is favored in nearly every subgroup, according to a new Emerson College poll.

The Vermont senator leads with 32% in the state, followed by the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor with 17%. Former Vice President Joe Biden was next with 13%, trailed by Senators Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts with 11% each. The poll was conducted from February 2-4 and has a margin of error of +/- 4.3 percentage points.

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang and Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard both garnered 6%.

The results are part of an eight-day continuous poll by Emerson of the first primary state, measuring the bump candidates receive coming out of Iowa. Data for the poll were collected after the Iowa Democratic Party released partial caucus results that found Buttigieg with a slight lead over Sanders.

Compared to the poll taken Tuesday, before the partial Iowa results were released, Buttigieg gained 5 percentage points, Warren lost 2, Klobuchar lost 1 and Sanders and Biden were unchanged.

Michael Bloomberg is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination but is not taking part in the New Hampshire primary. He is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News. Regardless of who they were supporting, almost 3% of voters surveyed thought he will become the nominee.

Biden Adviser Casts Doubt on Iowa Results (4:33 p.m.)

A senior adviser to Joe Biden’s campaign raised questions about the results of the Iowa caucus, where the former vice president is currently in fourth place.

In an interview on CNN Wednesday, senior adviser Symone Sanders pointed to problems with an app used to tabulate precinct results.

Pressed by CNN anchor Brianna Keilar over whether this meant she was contesting the reported results, Sanders demurred, saying she has not “analyzed the back ends of the data.”

When Keilar noted that this was the kind of remark that Democrats have criticized Trump for making, Sanders said she was not disputing the results, just raising “legitimate questions.”

“I guess we’ll have to take the Iowa Democratic Party at their word,” she said.

Warren Touts Obama Praise in New Ad (12:13 p.m.)

Joe Biden’s not the only one playing up his ties to Barack Obama.

A new 30-second ad from the Elizabeth Warren campaign features the former president praising her as a “janitor’s daughter who has become one of the country’s fiercest advocates for the middle class.”

He goes on to point out that she came up with the idea for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, facing “some very tough opposition.”

“Fortunately, she’s very tough,” he says.

The ad comes from Obama’s announcement in the Rose Garden on Sept. 17, 2010 that he was appointing Warren to an advisory position to help create the CFPB. Less than a year later, he passed her over for a position as the agency’s first president amid concerns that she couldn’t overcome Senate opposition.

Obama has not made any public statement yet on candidates in the Democratic primary.

Trailing in Iowa, Biden Snags Big Union Nod (10:57 a.m.)

Joe Biden won the backing of a major labor union Wednesday, a welcome boost after partial results indicate a disappointing showing in the Iowa caucuses.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which has 775,000 active and retired members across North America, described Biden as “a longtime friend of working families.”

The endorsement comes at a key moment for Biden’s campaign. With about two-thirds of Iowa precincts reporting, the former vice president was sitting in fourth place, behind 38-year-old Pete Buttigieg, self-described democratic socialist Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, another progressive senator.

“What makes Joe Biden different isn’t just his support for our rights on the job, but his support for good energy jobs,” IBEW President Lonnie R. Stephenson said in a statement. “Eighty-five percent of IBEW members work in the energy industry, and our country needs a realistic plan to combat the ongoing threat of climate change without putting energy security or working families at risk.” — Kathleen Hunter


CNN will host town halls featuring eight presidential candidates in New Hampshire on Wednesday and Thursday, and some of the contenders will debate there on Feb. 7.

The New Hampshire primary is Feb. 11.

Nevada holds its caucuses on Feb. 22, and South Carolina has a primary on Feb. 29.

(Disclaimer: Michael Bloomberg is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. He is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Ryan Teague Beckwith in Manchester, New Hampshire at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at, John Harney

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