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Ocasio-Cortez dodges question, refusing to endorse Biden’s re-election bid

By Sarah May
|
February 8, 2023

As the number of rank-and-file Democrats interested in a second Biden term continues to decline, the president is also suffering the potential defection of high-profile members of his party, as evidenced by the recent reluctance of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14) to endorse his anticipated 2024 bid for the White House, which The Hill reported this week.

Speaking to CNN prior to the president's Tuesday State of the Union address, Ocasio-Cortez was unwilling to declare her support for a Biden re-election campaign, joining a growing list of big names who seem to have wavered in their enthusiasm of late.

AOC demurs

While insisting that she will back whomever the Democratic Party's 2024 nominee turns out to be, Ocasio-Cortez did not jump at the chance to declare Biden the person she hopes receives that nod.

“I got here through a primary process, and out of deep respect for that, I never try to jump ahead of it,” said the congresswoman from New York.

The liberal firebrand went on to express her hope that Biden's address would include “big” and “bold” ideas for increasing taxes on high-earning Americans, aggressively tackling climate change, and securing abortion rights.

Suggesting perhaps that Biden's agenda on those issues could impact her amenability to his likely campaign, Ocasio-Cortez added, “In any candidacy, we need to see what the plan is for our future.”

Not the first time

Tuesday's comments from Ocasio-Cortez do not represent the first time she has shown hesitation in the face of questions about Biden's political future, demonstrating a similar reticence last summer during an appearance on CNN's State of the Union, as Axios noted at the time.

Speaking to program host Dana Bash, Ocasio-Cortez was asked whether she would throw her support behind a Biden re-election bid, and she replied, “I mean, first of all I'm focused on winning this majority right now and preserving a majority in 2022, so we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.”

“But I think if the president has a vision, then that's something we're certainly willing to entertain and examine when the time comes. I think we should endorse when we get to it,” Ocasio-Cortez continued.

Attempting, perhaps, to soften the blow of what she was actually saying, the congresswoman added, “But I believe that the president is doing a very good job so far and should he run again, I think that I – [w]e'll take a look at it.”

Et tu, Michelle?

Another highly visible Democrat who appears to have reservations about Biden's viability in 2024 is former first lady Michelle Obama, who recently revealed her feelings in an interview with ABC News, as CNN reported.

Asked whether she was hoping that Biden would make another run at the White House in the next cycle, Obama answered, “You know, I, I – I will have to see.”

Obama continued, “It's a personal decision that he and his family have to make. Probably if I hadn't been through it, I would feel more cavalier about opining on it.”

“But,” Obama added, “I know it’s a personal call, and I don't want to be one of the millions of people weighing in on what he should do, he and Jill should do.”

Harris in jeopardy?

Unfortunately for Democrats, it appears that Biden is not the only major player for whom the bell may be tolling ahead of 2024, as new reporting suggests that Vice President Kamala Harris may also be on the political chopping block.

Long the subject of intense media scrutiny over perceived failures in policy areas she was assigned to tackle and a laundry list of gaffes, cackles and bizarre utterances on the world stage, Harris, according to insiders who spoke to the New York Times, is not the party's preferred standard-bearer in the event Biden bows out.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) implied in public over the weekend what many seem to be saying in private when, in an interview with Boston Public Radio, she said with regard to Harris' remaining on the ticket in 2024, “I really want to defer to what makes Biden comfortable on his team.”

With a recent Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll and a new Washington Post-ABC survey both revealing substantial drops in the numbers of American voters – including Democrats – who want Biden – let alone Harris – to run in 2024, Democrats increasingly find themselves in the throes of a real dilemma just as the primary process begins to heat up.