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Washington Times - Biden Eyed in Iowa's Role as Kingmaker

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Location: Des Moines, IA

Washington Times - Biden Eyed in Iowa's Role as Kingmaker

By Christina Bellantoni

Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr.'s foreign-policy experience is gaining him more attention, if not a significant bump in the presidential polls.

Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. tells Iowans to cast aside doubts about whether he can win the presidency, saying that if they look beyond celebrity, they will see he is the most electable, experienced politician in the bunch.

"I can win if you say I can win," the Delaware Democrat says, a nod to Iowa's important role in the nominating process.

"You have an obligation to show the rest of the nation who you think is the most qualified person to be president, and your recommendation is a big deal," he told voters in Onawa recently. "If you don't come out of Iowa one, two or three, you're gone, this is over."

An increasing number of Iowa Democrats are saying that Mr. Biden's strategy — spending more time in the state than his competitors and securing 14 endorsements from state lawmakers who tout his decades of experience — might just yield him a third-place or better finish on Jan. 3.

Such a surprise showing would earn the senator invaluable free press coverage, a fundraising boost and the potential to translate an Iowa blessing into the presidential nomination.

But Mr. Biden has yet to yield major results on paper. His numbers are marginally increasing in the polls, although he ranks far behind Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois.

Still, voters in all parts of the state are increasingly dropping Mr. Biden's name as their preferred candidate. Unprompted, most cite his foreign-policy credentials as superior to the senators leading the polls.

In northern Iowa at a Clinton event, it was Howard L. Larson: "I'm leaning towards Joe. He's a good man with an awful lot of experience."

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