CNN editor-at-large Chris Cilizza suggested Tuesday that former Vice President Joe Biden would “step aside” to elevate his new running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), all but conceding that Biden will not finish his presidential term, if elected.
Joe Biden made the pick that maximized his chances of continuing to make the race a straight referendum on Trump while also selecting someone whose resume suggests being ready to step in, if and when Biden decides to step aside. | Analysis by @CillizzaCNN https://t.co/Ek4d6sfGfT
— CNN (@CNN) August 11, 2020
Cilizza argued that Biden’s choice reflected confidence that he will win the election in November — but also suggested that he might not be able to do the job.
He wrote (emphasis added):
At 55 years old, [Harris] represents a younger generation of leader — something that Biden, who will be 78 on Inauguration Day 2021, said was a major factor in his choice
What that all means is that Biden wants the race to be about him as little as possible.
What Biden did is make the pick that maximized his chances of continuing to make the race a straight referendum on Trump while also selecting someone, in Harris, whose resume suggests will be ready to step in if and when Biden decides to step aside.
Cilizza’s argument comes just days after CNN’s chief media correspondent, Brian Stelter, argued that it was “offensive and otherworldly” for conservatives to argue that Biden was too old and unhealthy to compete or to serve in office.
Biden’s announcement of his running mate was also awkwardly worded in a way that suggested Harris might be expected “to lead this nation starting in January 2021”:
Joe Biden in email to supporters: “I’ve decided that Kamala Harris is the best person to help me take this fight to Donald Trump and Mike Pence and then to lead this nation starting in January 2021.”
— NBC News (@NBCNews) August 11, 2020
Notably, CNN president Jeff Zucker endorsed Kamala Harris for California attorney general in the 2009-10 election, and helped her meet “movers and shakers” in New York. At the time, he was president of NBC Universal, and said that he was making a rare exception to his “very, very strict policy” of not supporting political candidates.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.