New: Biden and McAuliffe/What I'm Listening To/NYT List

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New: ‘He’s Tanking’: Terry McAuliffe Tells People He Sees Major Weakness in Biden

Eighteen people are running for the 2020 Democratic nomination, and there are at least seven more potential candidates, one of them being former DNC chairman and former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

Last month when I brought up the prospect of a McAuliffe presidential campaign with a source, that person told me McAuliffe had made it clear he wasn’t going to run if former Vice President Joe Biden entered the race. I had heard differently; another source told me that McAuliffe was building a campaign apparatus. (Disclosure: McAuliffe is a friend, but I have not spoken to him about the presidential race. In fact, I haven’t spoken to him in two months about anything.)

CNN reported that McAuliffe has been calling donors and other allies to build support for a possible campaign.

I learned this week that not only has McAuliffe been working to marshal support (something he has now confirmed publicly), but he has told friends and supporters that he sees a major weakness in Biden.

According to a source familiar with a conversation McAuliffe had with an influential Democratic figure, McAuliffe said he believes that Biden is “tanking” after multiple women said he made them uncomfortable when he touched them without consent.

Biden’s response to the accusations was to say in a video that he will be more “mindful” in the future of how he interacts with people, and he recognizes that “social norms have begun to change … they’ve shifted.” But he hasn’t apologized.

Last Friday, he made what was seen by some as a critical error by making several jokes about the controversy while speaking at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers conference. In one instance, after hugging IBEW president Lonnie Stephenson, Biden said, “I just want you to know I had permission to hug Lonnie.” The audience, filled mostly with men, reacted by laughing and applauding.

But others thought this was another example of a gaffe-prone Biden, the same man who ran for president twice and never made it to the nomination. While Biden is leading all the national polls, much of that is based on name recognition. A campaign that hasn’t started in earnest isn’t an accurate barometer for the true state of the race.

So why does McAuliffe believe that Biden’s loss is his victory? McAuliffe was said to have told a source that he could be the “white Irishman” in the race with Biden out.

In a recent hourlong interview, conservative radio host John Fredericks asked McAuliffe, “If you get into this race, are you going to run an apology tour and apologize, Governor McAuliffe, for being a successful white male?”

“No,” McAuliffe replied. “If I do run, it will be the funnest campaign. It will be a happy tour.”

McAuliffe believes he is the natural replacement for Biden because of the old fiscally moderate and socially progressive construct. In his interview with Fredericks, he spoke of his business record and work to attract businesses to Virginia while he was governor. He also touched on how he restored voting rights to felons and vetoed anti-choice and anti-LGBT bills.  

It’s unclear when McAuliffe will launch his campaign, but he has 77 days until the first DNC-sponsored debates, which will air on NBC/MSNBC/Telemundo. The requirement to reach the debate is to either register at a minimum 1 percent in three separate polls conducted by reputable news organizations/universities or get 65,000 grassroots donors from at least 20 states.

What I’m Listening To: Andrew Bird

Many of my friends love Andrew Bird, the indie rock multi-instrumentalist and whistler extraordinaire, but I had never taken the time to listen to his music.

But on March 22, I downloaded his new album, “My Finest Work Yet” (I love the title), and can’t stop listening to it. It’s terrific.

I can use all sorts of descriptors to explain why I love this album, but I think it’s just best if you go listen to it. I will say this: As someone who writes a lot and has ADHD, I need music that gets me into a rhythm to focus and inspire me to write. That’s what Bird’s album did for me.

My favorite songs: “Archipelago,” “Sisyphus,” “Fallorun” and “Olympians.”

Here’s the iTunes link for the album (I don’t benefit in any way if you buy Bird’s music): https://apple.co/2KqTRgW

New York Times Best Sellers List

Two weeks ago, I had the exclusive first peek at Ramin Setoodeh’s book about “The View.” It’s an incredible, explosive book.

The New York Times Best Sellers list for this week just came out three hours ago, and Setoodeh’s book, “Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of ‘The View,’” debuted at No. 5 on the list for combined print and e-book nonfiction sales and No. 7 for hardcover nonfiction sales. “Ladies Who Punch” is an important book about politics, media and culture that is like a beach read. I suspect word-of-mouth is going to keep the sales going.

Read my story about Setoodeh’s book: http://bit.ly/2CBzTcX

Buy Setoodeh’s book here (I don’t benefit in any way if you buy it): https://amzn.to/2OvApxP

Debuting at No. 14 this week on the hardcover nonfiction list is former White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett’s book, “Finding My Voice: My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward,” which is very good (regardless of your politics).

You can buy Jarrett’s book here (I don’t benefit in any way if you buy it): https://amzn.to/2KptBmV