Biden Under Pressure to Prove He Can Thwart New GOP Attacks

With five days until the Iowa caucuses, Joe Biden is fending off a new onslaught of GOP attacks over his son’s business overseas and facing piling pressure to show Democratic voters he can handle the incoming, The Associated Press reported.

As Republicans amplified their allegations against the former vice president, accusing him of nepotism and worse in a series of charges stemming from the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, the Biden campaign promised an aggressive and direct counterstrategy ahead of Monday’s first nominating contest. Biden planned an address Thursday in Iowa at the same time Trump was to stage a rally in Des Moines.

The Biden campaign was mindful that the last-minute GOP meddling in the Democratic race provides something of a preview of the election ahead should Biden be the party’s nominee. As such, it was a test of whether Iowa voters would see strength or weakness in Biden’s response, AP adds.

Biden made his case Wednesday by openly mocking Florida Sen. Rick Scott, a Republican, for running a digital ad in Iowa that repeats Trump’s discredited theories about Biden’s work in Ukraine as vice president and his son’s private business dealings there. The ad came a day after Trump’s impeachment defense team repeatedly framed Hunter Biden’s tenure on an energy firm’s governing board as the real corruption in need of investigation.

“A senator from Florida, sitting in Washington, has decided to start running negative ads against Joe Biden just days before the Iowa caucus,” the elder Biden told several hundred Iowa voters in Sioux City. “What do you think that’s about? Look, it’s simple,” he said, returning to an oft-used line: “They’re smearing me … because they know if I’m the nominee, I’m going to beat Donald Trump like a drum.”

Biden adviser Anita Dunn was even more pointed, saying of the Scott ad: “We’ll pay him to keep it up.”

Biden campaign manager Greg Schultz said, “This is all a help to us” because it validated Trump’s fear.

That’s quite a turn from October, when the Biden campaign sent letters to Facebook, Google and Twitter pressuring the online platforms to block ads from Trump’s reelection campaign that contained similar debunked allegations against the Bidens. But Dunn and Schultz suggest that their new posture could be the better path to turning a potentially damaging story line into an electoral asset.

“We are going to call out the lies. We are going to confront him,” Dunn said of how Biden will handle Trump going forward. “If Joe Biden has proven one thing in this race, it’s that he’s the person to stand up to Donald Trump.”

Yet there are Democrats who see the Biden controversy as a replay of 2016. In that campaign, Trump deflected myriad stories of his own conflicts of interests and business dealings by hammering away at Democrat Hillary Clinton, her use of a private email server as secretary of state and the foreign contributions to the Clinton Foundation created after her husband Bill Clinton’s presidency.

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