Biden is counting on labor support -- but should he?

'Inside Politics' Forecast
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'Inside Politics' Forecast 04:04

Story highlights

  • President Obama's 2016 primary strategy: Damned if he talks, damned if he doesn't
  • Carson's secret Midwestern vote weapon is his wife, Candy
  • When to watch out for a new Air Force One

Washington (CNN)President Obama's 2016 dilemma, a higher profile for Candy Carson, and Elizabeth Warren's next move were part of Sunday's trip around the "Inside Politics" table.

Plus, whether Joe Biden can count on the union label, and a shiny new gift for the next president -- assuming he or she can win a second term.
1. Biden's timing means union support not a sure thing
    Vice President Joe Biden long has been a favorite of organized labor, and as he mulls a late entry into the 2016 presidential race, one thing his team is counting on is support among blue-collar workers, union and otherwise.
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    Biden can't bank on labor 00:50
    But if the VP is banking on a long list of labor endorsements, he might wind up disappointed.
    There is no question about labor's affinity for Biden, but his timing complicates matters.
    Many national union leaders are already in Camp Clinton; some have made their support public already and many more have given private winks and nods.
    But there is a fair amount of pushback from state and local chapters, and their activists, who believe Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is a more pure and more passionate advocate for the labor agenda.
    This split is not unique to campaign 2016, but it is real, and complicated. And as Biden made calls in recent days, including some to labor leaders, several sources familiar with the internal tensions within the house of labor told CNN it is consuming a fair amount of attention and energy.
    Some Biden allies see that as an opening -- suggesting he could emerge as a consensus alternative. But given that this Clinton versus Sanders tug of war is well underway, the sources familiar with the internal labor tensions suggested that if Biden is banking on large-scale defections to his camp, he likely will be disappointed.
    2. To speak or not to speak: Obama gets blowback when he weighs in on 2016
    Every incumbent president wants to shape the campaign for the next president. But it is perhaps especially dicey for President Obama: The Democratic field includes his former secretary of state and might involve his loyal vice president.
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    Obama's 2016 dilemma 00:42
    So of course reporters ask Obama for his thoughts on the race as often as they can -- and so far there seems to be a "damned if he does, damned if he doesn't" reaction.
    Julie Hirshfeld Davis of The New York Times shared reporting on how the President and his team view the 2016 stakes and the question of when he should and shouldn't speak up.
    "There's a real dilemma right now at the White House about how much the president should engage in the 2016 presidential campaign, and we saw him try two different strategies in the last week," said Davis.
    "He came out in the '60 Minutes' interview and commented on Hillary Clinton's email issues, and he got some blowback from that, because he said there had been no national security compromised and some people at the FBI took that to be sort of undermining the investigation."
    "But then he had a news conference on Friday, he refused to talk about Joe Biden's plans; he refused to talk about Clinton's trade stance on (the Trans-Pacific Partnership). And he got blowback about that: 'Oh, he's not saying anything -- when's he going to come out and say something?'"
    "I think that's only going to get trickier for him, particularly if Vice President Biden gets in the race."
    3. A new Air Force One -- but can the 2016 winner stay long enough to fly it?
    Any Air Force plane carrying the President gets the designation Air Force One, but most people associate the name with the big Boeing 747 that normally carries the commander in chief on big trips.
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    There are two of the 747s, actually, to share the workload and to be sure there is backup available on long-haul presidential trips.
    Now, Peter Baker of The New York Times reports the planning is in the works for the next-generation presidential aircraft, a new model of the 747.
    "The one that this president has been flying, and the previous presidents have been flying, is now about 25 years old," said Baker. "They feel like it's a little over the hill here, basically. They have no spare parts. They don't make them anymore. "
    "So the next one's going to be souped up. It may not be like Trump Force One but it will be pretty good."
    "Now here's the trick: If the next president wants to get it, the next president has to win a second term, because it won't be delivered until 2023."
    4. Carson's Iowa secret weapon
    Good campaign surrogates are hard to find, and all the more important as the key early nominating contests draw near.
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    Candy Carson's role 00:47
    So Ben Carson's campaign is thrilled that it is about to get some high-powered help -- from the candidate's wife.
    Candy Carson plans a higher profile beginning soon, reports CNN's Nia-Malika Henderson, and her husband's campaign team thinks she brings a varied, and helpful, appeal to the trail.
    "She was down in Alabama signing the paperwork for her husband to get on the ballot there," said Henderson. "She's been part of his book tour -- she was the co-writer of his new book.
    "And expect her to be in Iowa. They feel she really connects with folks there. ... She's got that Midwestern charm."
    "So she's very much going to be out there. They see her as a force multiplier out there in places that he can't be."
    5. Warren, back from overseas, in place to again impact 2016
    Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts remains a wild card when it comes to the 2016 race and will be closely watched in the days ahead for a number of reasons.
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    Eyes on Warren 00:48
    First, she is likely to be a key player in the congressional debate over Obama's new Pacific trade deal; labor and other liberal groups oppose it and will be counting on Warren's help on Capitol Hill.
    Plus, with the Iowa vote 105 days away and New Hampshire soon after, there is the question of who will get the liberal favorite's support in the Democratic presidential race.
    Matt Viser of The Boston Globe looked at how Warren remains an impact player even though she isn't a candidate.
    "She has said she would endorse in the Democratic primary," said Viser. "Joe Biden has met with her. Hillary Clinton has met with her. They're both seeking her support; and so over these next couple of weeks, particularly if Biden gets in the race, I think she'll be somebody to keep an eye on."