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Biden has VP history working against him in 2020

First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.
Image: Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks in Dover, Delaware, on March 16, 2019.
Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks in Dover, Delaware, on March 16, 2019.Michelle Gustafson / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — When he officially gets into the 2020 presidential race on Thursday, Joe Biden will have this math working against him.

Since World War II, only two of the six full-term vice presidents who have tried have gone on to win the presidency — fulfilling either a party’s third term or its restoration to power.

And both victories were on the Republican side.

Here’s the record for full-term vice presidents (so not including LBJ or Ford):

  • Republican Richard Nixon (who restored the GOP to power in 1968 after the JFK/LBJ administrations).
  • Democrat Hubert Humphrey (lost general election in 1968, lost in primaries in 1972).
  • Democrat Walter Mondale (lost in general election in 1984).
  • Republican George HW Bush (won party’s third term in 1988).
  • Republican Dan Quayle (ran in 2000 primaries and withdrew from contest).
  • Democrat Al Gore (lost the 2000 general election).

Being a current or former vice president is a real advantage — when it comes to name ID, raising money and the potential to clear a field.

But the downside is that you don’t get to be the new/fresh/different candidate. You own the bad (as well as the good) of the administration you served. And you have a harder time portraying yourself as a change agent.

And those potential downsides could end up being Biden’s biggest challenges in 2020 – more than age, ideology and a long, long record in public service.

Separation of powers showdown

In addition to the 2020 race and the impeachment debate, this could be one of the biggest political stories we’ll be following over the next several months.

A president who won’t comply with congressional requests and subpoenas.

The Washington Post reports: “President Trump on Tuesday said he is opposed to current and former White House aides providing testimony to congressional panels in the wake of the special counsel report.”

“There is no reason to go any further, and especially in Congress where it’s very partisan — obviously very partisan,” Trump told the Post. (Umm, wasn’t Congress also partisan during the Obama, Bush and Clinton years?)

The Post adds that Trump’s opposition to current and former aides – like Don McGahn — from testifying to Congress comes after:

  • The White House directed a former official not to comply with a subpoena over security clearances.
  • The Trump Treasury Department defied a request to turn over the president’s tax returns.

This is the Trump/Roy Cohn playbook: fight every little thing, ignore, counter-sue.

And guess what: That playbook ultimately kept Trump from having a face-to-face encounter with Mueller.

Kushner on Russia’s interference in 2016

“A couple of Facebook ads”: Speaking of Mueller and the Russia investigation, don’t miss Jared Kushner dismissing Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

"You look at what Russia did, buying some Facebook ads to try to sow dissent and do it, and it’s a terrible thing," he said yesterday, per NBC News. "But I think the investigations and all of the speculation that’s happened for the last two years has had a much harsher impact on our democracy than a couple of Facebook ads."

A couple of Facebook ads?

That isn’t much different than Trump saying: “Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”

And Kushner’s comments pair up with this New York Times piece today: Former Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen was trying to focus on preventing Russian interference in the 2020 race, and was told by the White House chief of staff NOT to bring it up in front of the president.

2020 Vision: She The People

On the campaign trail today: Participating in today’s “She the People” forum in Houston are Cory Booker, Julian Castro, Tulsi Gabbard, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Also later speaking before the African American Mayors conference in Houston are Klobuchar, Harris, Castro, Sanders and Booker.

And Sanders holds a rally in Houston at 6:00 pm ET.

Tweet of the day

Data Download: The number of the day is … 1986

That's the year that Joe Biden voted in favor of a 1986 gun bill that the NRA has called "the law that saved gun rights."

NBC's Alex Seitz-Wald has more on Biden's vote on the Firearm Owners Protection Act, which passed overwhelmingly during an era of bipartisan compromise on guns that seems almost unthinkable today.

The legislation "allowed dealers to sell rifles, shotguns and ammunition through the mail, and, eventually, the Internet. It limited federal inspections of firearms dealers while allowing them to sell guns at gun shows, which helped them grow in size and popularity. And it made it easier for private collectors to sell guns without obtaining a federal dealers' license, which would play a role in what later became known as the 'gun show loophole.'"

Biden, of course, went on to champion an assault weapons ban and fight for expanded background checks. But he's sure to face questions about this and other issues that are far more polarizing today than they were more than three decades ago.

The Lid: Everything’s bigger in Texas

Don't miss the pod from yesterday, when we looked at MJ Hegar's bid to take on Sen. John Cornyn.

ICYMI: News clips you shouldn’t miss

White House officials are boycotting the White House Correspondents Dinner.

The Supreme Court seems to be leaning toward allowing a citizenship question on the Census.

Trump says he doesn't want his aides testifying on the Hill in the wake of the special counsel report.

The White House says it will fight a House Judiciary Committee subpoena of Don McGahn.

Trump agenda: Complaining about losing Twitter followers

The president complained about losing Twitter followers in a meeting with Twitter's CEO.

The acting DHS chief says it's "not on the table" to separate migrant families at the border, saying it's "not worth it" from a law enforcement perspective.

U.S. Border Patrol found an abandoned toddler with a phone number written on his shoes.

Trump is finally getting a state visit to Britain, but it probably won't be without hiccups.

Is obstruction an impeachable offense?

2020: Biden to announce on Thursday

Resident Bidenologist Mike Memoli has the details of Biden's Thursday announcement here.

Pete Buttigieg will do a Fox News town hall.

And POLITICO looks back at Buttigieg's DNC chair run (which didn't go well.)

Kamala Harris says she supports a third gender option on federal IDs.

Julian Castro's campaign is running into trouble early.

And Trump's campaign team is getting a little antsy about Pennsylvania.