California Gov. Jerry Brown said Friday if he were Vice President Joe Biden, he’d give “very serious consideration” to running for president — and suggested a Biden bid could spell trouble for frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s White House hopes.
“All I can say is, if I were Hillary, I would say [to Biden], ‘Don't jump in.’ If I were Joe Biden, I'd probably give it very serious consideration,” he said in an interview that aired Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Brown’s comments come as Clinton has seen her lead in polls of the Democratic field shrink by nearly half since June, amid the continuing controversy surrounding her use of a private email account and server while serving as secretary of State.
And as Clinton’s fortunes have fallen, Biden’s stock, and the chatter surrounding a potential bid by the vice president, has risen — as has his apparent interest in a run. He’s reportedly been reaching out to donors to gauge interest in a bid, and huddled with advisers about the possibility during his vacation in South Carolina earlier this month.
Though Clinton still holds a healthy double-digit lead in most national polls, Brown wouldn’t rule out the possibility that another candidate could usurp her first-place position and ultimately nab the nomination away from her.
“I don't make these expectations. I've been around politics long enough to know that, you know, that things are uncertain. I don't know,” he said, when asked whether he expects Clinton will win his party’s nod for president.
The California Democrat said the controversy surrounding her email use is indeed a significant problem for her.
“The email thing, it has kind of a mystique to it,” he said. “You know, an email is just an utterance in digital form. But it has some kind of dark energy that gets everybody excited […] it's almost like a vampire.”
Brown added: “She's going to have to find a stake and put it right through the heart of these emails in some way.”
Clinton and her staff have spent the last week scrambling to do just that, in the wake the news that the FBI is investigating the security of her email account — with little success. The candidate cut off a testy press conference during a campaign stop in Nevada earlier this week after reporters drilled into her with questions on the server, and campaign advisers have held multiple media briefing calls to try to turn the narrative around.
The California Democrat said the email issue “has a certain buzz that keeps buzzing,” and admitted “it is” a “big deal,” though he said he has trouble understanding why.
“She'll have to use her best imagination and adroitness to deal with it,” he said of Clinton.
Brown also took a few jabs at the Republican presidential contenders, calling former HP CEO Carly Fiorina’s assertion that environmentalists had blocked the building of dams in California and contributed to the drought “utter ignorance.”
He also offered his own evaluation of the psychology fueling GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump’s political strategy. He recounted riding along with Trump in his private plane and unexpectedly admiring a Renoir hanging on the wall.
“If I had $10 billion, I'd probably be a lot more confident of myself than I am,” Brown said. “Maybe his money breeds a certain amount of confidence that bleeds over into disdain and the kind of performance that he's rendering.”