Vice President Joe Biden says he doesn't "agree with oddsmakers" on the 2014 midterm elections
Biden has campaigned for Democrats across the country, including for Charlie Crist in Florida
Presidential run in 2016? Hillary Clinton's plans won't affect his decision, he says
See more from Gloria Borger’s interview with Vice President Joe Biden on Monday’s “Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” at 5 p.m. ET.
Vice President Joe Biden isn’t buying the growing consensus heading into Election Day that Republicans are poised to take control of the Senate.
“I don’t agree with the oddsmakers,” Biden said in an exclusive interview with CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger. “I predict we’re gonna … keep the Senate.”
But even if Republicans do win the chamber for the first time in nearly a decade, Biden didn’t seem to think the victory would have much impact on the administration’s priorities.
“I don’t think it would change anything, in terms of what we’re about,” he told Borger. “We know what we have to get done the last two years. And – quite frankly – going into 2016, the Republicans have to make a decision whether they’re in control or not in control. Are they gonna begin to allow things to happen? Or are they gonna continue to be obstructionists? And I think they’re gonna choose to get things done.”
Biden’s comments come as Republicans appear to have the momentum going into Tuesday’s elections. New polls over the weekend showed key races moving in the GOP’s favor, especially in Iowa, where Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst’s lead over the Democratic candidate is growing.
The vice president has played a crucial role for the administration during this election season, appearing with Democratic candidates across the country at a time when President Barack Obama’s popularity is waning. Biden was in Florida this weekend campaigning with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist as part of a trip that also took him to California and Nevada.
Biden’s rigorous campaign schedule has raised questions about whether he might run for president in 2016, particularly if Hillary Clinton decides to enter the race.
Though Biden wouldn’t say whether he would run for president, he made clear that he wouldn’t base the decision on Clinton’s plans.
“That’s not the reason not to run or to run,” he told Borger. “The question is … am I convinced I am best positioned of anyone else to lead the country the next four years?”
In the more immediate future, Biden said he didn’t see the White House changing how it does business if the GOP wins the Senate majority.
“We have to be more direct and clear about exactly what it is we’re looking to do,” he said. “And look, we’re – we’re ready to compromise.” he said.
Biden added: “I think they’re gonna be inclined – because the message from the people, and I’m gettin’ it all over the country, is they’re tired of Washington not being able to do anything.”
While Biden has traveled to dozens of races this year, Obama has mostly stayed in Washington because many Democrats in tight races did not want him to campaign with them. That, Biden said, is up to individual lawmakers.
“It all gets down to what the specific issues in that– in that district are, or that state is. And each senator makes a judgment about whether or not it’ll be– he thinks it’s helpful or hurtful,” he told CNN.
One reason Democrats are facing such headwinds this year is because of polls showing voters angry, afraid and mad at Washington.
“The public is concerned and frightened because it’s a frightening world. A lot has happened,” he responded, pointing out that problems that are eased or resolved – such as the crisis in Ukraine – get less attention.
So should the public not be worried?
“I think the public should not be as anxious as they are,” Biden told Borger. “But it’s understandable why they are. There is no existential threat to the United States right now. There are fewer than five cases of Ebola in the entire United States of America. The American public gains confidence in the fact of the way this is being handled; that science does matter.”
He went on: “You look at what’s happening with ISIS. ISIS is not an existential threat to something happening to someone in the United States of America. It’s a serious problem overseas but it’s confusing and frightening. And it’s totally understandable. We’ve gotta figure out– we, the President and I, have to figure out how to better communicate exactly what’s being done. That’s part of the problem. That’s part of the dilemma”
As 2016 chatter intensifies, Biden said he is focused on his job right now.
“There’s plenty of time to make that decision,” he said. “There really is. I mean, look, everybody talks about how, you know, everything is gonna be gone by the summer. And I don’t see that at all.”
Borger asked where he is in his decision making process.
“I just haven’t focused on (it),” he said. “I haven’t made up my mind what I’m gonna do.”
Biden said persistent questions about a possible Clinton campaign don’t upset him.
“It really doesn’t bother me at all,” he said.
But he has some ideas about what a campaign might look like.
“I mean if I run, I’m confident I will be able to mount a campaign that (is)… gonna be credible,” he said. “And I’m gonna be serious.”