Biden is everything Hillary Clinton isn't

Story highlights

  • Tara Setmayer: Why is the idea of a possible Joe Biden candidacy gaining traction? People trust and like him more than Hillary Clinton
  • She says Clinton's email controversy and status as elite politician are in sharp relief to Biden's genuine everyman persona

Tara Setmayer is former communications director for Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-California, and a CNN political commentator. Follow her on Twitter @tarasetmayer. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN)Around this time last year, murmurings from the progressive wing of the Democrats for an Elizabeth Warren presidential challenge turned to a full throttle draft campaign. The presumptive Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, the reasoning went, was part of the old guard, whereas Warren represented the new Democratic Party, much more to the left and better suited to carry on the Obama legacy.

Tara Setmayer
The Clinton camp was keenly aware of this growing faction in their periphery and eventually Sen. Warren put the rumors to rest: she was not running for president. Who else posed a potential threat? Certainly not the vice president. The thought of a third Joe Biden candidacy elicited chuckles from many inside -- and outside -- the Beltway.
There was no serious talk of Biden 2016. Until now.
    Why the turnaround?
    It appears that Hillary Clinton and her faltering campaign are beginning to feel the effects of what happens when one obfuscates instead of cooperates, especially when running for the highest office in the land.
    The scandal over Clinton's use of a private email server to conduct official government business is entering its seventh month with no end in sight, especially now with the FBI and Department of Justice investigating potential mishandling of classified information. This and what some consider the Clinton Foundation's questionable donations have exposed major vulnerabilities in her candidacy.
    Is Biden leaning toward 2016 run?
    Is Biden leaning toward 2016 run?


      Is Biden leaning toward 2016 run?


    Is Biden leaning toward 2016 run? 01:58
    Enter Joe Biden. Biden is everything Hillary Clinton isn't. Biden's affability comes across as more genuine than Clinton's, and he is beloved by his constituents, lacking the same character baggage as Clinton. He's "Uncle Joe." And he is polling just as well or better than Clinton in matchups with Republicans in key electoral states.
    Couple this new reality with reports of the vice president's secret meeting over the weekend in Washington with Warren, the hiring of key staffers, and his meetings with big time Democratic donors and it's looking like a Biden run could happen.
    It had seemed initially that Clinton's pathway to the Democratic nomination, and ultimately the presidency, was clear. Who could possibly compete? This is Hillary Clinton we're talking about. Democratic royalty. The heir apparent to the presidency. Plus, the Democrats owed her one after her unexpected loss to Barack Obama in 2008, replacing her historic run with Obama's historic victory.
    But all summer, her favorability ratings have continued to drop as her unfavorables rise. Clinton's latest poor performance came last week during a news conference in Nevada where she was asked pointed questions about the investigations into her server. When asked if she wiped her server clean, she sarcastically responded, "What with a cloth?" Her posture read defensive and arrogant -- two traits no presidential campaign wants associated with its candidate.
    CNN/ORC Poll: Majority of Democrats support Biden run
    Lead panel new cnn poll clinton support dropping_00052629


      CNN/ORC Poll: Majority of Democrats support Biden run


    CNN/ORC Poll: Majority of Democrats support Biden run 05:52
    She is becoming less relatable and likable -- many don't trust her. Recent polling in key swing states show that over 60% of voters in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida do not think Clinton is honest or trustworthy.
    Biden, on the other hand, may be gaffe prone, but he possesses a charisma and average guy appeal that Hillary cannot compete with. And her campaign knows it, which is why, the "champion of the middle class" is interrupting her $100,000 Hamptons vacation to get back on the campaign trail and do some serious damage control.
    The Bidens are far from wealthy, nor has the vice president used his time in office to personally enrich himself, unlike Hillary and Bill Clinton. Biden would be a much more natural messenger for the Democrats, who want to zero in on middle class angst. It's the intangible that Biden has in abundance and cannot be taught or staged. He illuminates Hillary's most devastating vulnerabilities.
    Likeability matters. Since 1972, the presidential candidate with the highest likeability has prevailed. Proverbs 16:18 reminds us that "Pride comes before destruction." At this rate, Hillary Clinton's "above the law" style arrogance and sense of entitlement may ultimately be hers.