Joe Biden: No More Mr. Nice Guy

Ahead of next week's second round of presidential debates, former vice president and current Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden says he'll be less "polite" towards his rivals.

ASIDE: Yes, I will drunkblog both nights. As an aside within an aside, we should probably call these things "nomination debates," since there's nothing at all presidential about them.

At an exclusive fundraiser at the just-as-exclusive Detroit Golf Club, Biden said, "I’m not going to be as polite this time." Referring to the spanking he got on race from Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) in the previous debate, Biden explained that he'll get meaner at next week's debate "because this is the same person who asked me to come to California and nominate her in her convention."

What, one nice speech and Harris is supposed to roll over for him on the way to the Democratic nomination? Biden knows better than that, but the bitterness and the sense of entitlement he revealed isn't pretty.

This is the same Joe Biden who once told a black audience that Mitt Romney — Mitt Romney! — would "put y’all back in chains." If that's Biden's idea of polite, it's going to take a bigger imagination than mine to figure out what he might say after the gloves are off.

Biden had better be ready for a fight on multiple fronts, since Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) has promised "additional attacks" on the man who claimed earlier this week to have gotten our troops out of Iraq. The Washington Examiner's Noah Garfinkel reports:

The New Jersey senator plans to question Joe Biden’s "electability" at the National Urban League conference in Indianapolis on Thursday. Calling it "easy" to call President Trump racist, Booker's prepared remarks argue it's important to look at what Biden is doing to “address structural inequality and institutional racism throughout [his] life.”

“Don’t tell us you’re going to be a champion for our communities when you become president if you haven’t been a champion already," they read.

It was at this same event that Booker described Biden as an "architect of mass incarceration" of black Americans for his co-authorship of the 1994 crime bill.

What you can take from this is that Booker saw Harris draw blood against Biden last week, and plans to go after the same wound.

And Booker isn't the only one. Bloomberg's Sahil Kapur and Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou reported on Wednesday that "Biden’s Black Voter Support Challenged by Rivals at NAACP." From their report:

Pete Buttigieg, 37, told the summit that President Donald Trump will win re-election “if our message as a Democratic Party is we’re just going to go back to normal.”

“I don’t need to tell black Americans about why the old normal isn’t going to work,” he said.

Julian Castro, 44, one of the youngest candidates after Buttigieg, called for “new energy” and a “new vision.”

Neither Buttigieg nor Castro mentioned Biden by name, but their generational pitch has been a recurring theme in a Democratic primary aiming to win a younger and diverse primary electorate.

In addition, the story notes that "Biden has the support of 40% of black voters, down modestly from 45% in early June," but no politician who just lost five points would think of that as a "modest" drop.

Biden himself is kind of all over the place. He went from bragging about his role in executing Obama's Iraq strategy (linked above) just a few weeks ago, along with endlessly name-dropping the former prez, to claiming on Wednesday that "he's not relying on Obama as 'crutch' in 2020 bid." And that was on the heels of challenging President Trump to a pushup contest or something. Biden's campaign might not be exactly flailing, but TIME magazine's Philip Elliot did call it "struggling," and described the candidate as "the shakiest front runner in years."

What we have then is all the knives out for a candidate who isn't exactly in his prime, but Ol' Joe himself promising that his Mr. Nice Guy days are behind him. There ought to be lots of fireworks next week, and I'll see you back here on Tuesday and Wednesday for all the drunkblogging coverage our livers can take.