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A source close to Joe Biden tells The Hollywood Reporter that the vice president has given himself until Sunday to decide whether to seek the Democratic presidential nomination, a move that would set up an intense competition with current frontrunner Hillary Clinton for Hollywood’s support.
The source tells THR that, though not even his confidantes know which way Biden will jump, consultants already are in place to immediately ramp up a full-dress national campaign. If the popular vice president decides to run, his Hollywood supporters already are prepared to hold at least two major fundraisers in early or mid-November, one of them to be hosted by UTA’s Jay Sures, one of Biden’s most vocal entertainment industry advocates.
The source says that if the vice president elects to pursue the nomination, he will not make a formal announcement for a couple of weeks so that his campaign can have a finance structure in place. According to the source, Biden’s aides expect his campaign to be “flooded with donations.”
To forestall such an eventuality, sources say that Clinton’s supporters are heavily lobbying potential Biden backers to commit to her campaign before the vice president’s decision. Clinton is expected to be back in Los Angeles on Nov. 4 and 5 for additional fundraisers and meetings with her Hollywood supporters, a source tells THR.
One of the Biden moves that already has piqued the interest of Hollywood progressive is what many believe is Biden’s quiet courtship of firebrand Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a great favorite in the entertainment industry, which strongly backed her senatorial campaign. Politico reported Tuesday that the vice president hosted Warren for an unannounced lunch in August at the Naval Observatory. Sources connected with Warren told Politico that Biden hinted “that there might be a running-mate opening for the Massachusetts senator.”
A Biden-Warren ticket would be something close to dream casting for some Hollywood Democrats and a magnet for contributions and endorsements.
“A Biden-Warren ticket would energize the party,” says Hollywood philanthropy consultant and progressive activist Bonnie Abaunza. “Her progressive ideas and fighting spirit have given her a broad base of support in Hollywood. At the same time her message resonates not only with liberal Democrats but with the middle class, women, college students and others who feel she has been fighting for their interests.”
Meanwhile a new poll released Tuesday shows Clinton — who has been recasting her image recently with a number of TV talk show appearances as well as a high-profile cameo on SNL — is leading the Democratic field with 42 percent support, followed by Bernie Sanders at 24 percent, Biden at 20 percent, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb at 2 percent, and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee both at 1 percent.
The survey, conducted by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling, also tests Clinton’s favorability against Al Gore, Warren and John Kerry. “Biden comes the closest — in a head-to-head against Clinton he trails only 51/38,” the group noted in its findings. “No one else can come within 20 points of Clinton when it comes to a one-on-one contest.”
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Portia de Rossi
James Gordon Meek