President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden shared a New Year’s Eve message with Ryan Seacrest on ABC’s Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve on Sunday.
Asked by Seacrest about his favorite memories of the year, the president replied: “My dad used to have an expression. He’d say, ‘Joey, a job is about a lot more than a paycheck. It’s about your dignity. It’s about respect.’ We brought a lot of jobs back to the United States. People are in a position to be able to make a living now. And they’ve created a lot of jobs, over 14 million. I just feel good that the American people got up. They’ve been through a rough time with the pandemic, but now we’re coming back, they’re back.”
Seacrest also asked what foods the president has been enjoying during the holidays, and Biden said he hasn’t been picky, but there’s one type of food he’s really been enjoying.
“I’ve been eating everything that is put in front of me, but I’ve eaten pasta, which I love eating — a lot of chicken parmesan. I’ve been eating all Italian foods, basically,” he said.
“And ice cream,” interjected the first lady.
“And chocolate chip ice cream,” the president agreed.
The Bidens appeared from their vacation spot on St. Croix in the Virgin Islands. According to the White House, the interview took place Saturday.
They ended the interview by sharing their hopes for the new year.
“My hope is that everybody has a healthy, happy and safe new year,” Joe Biden said. “But beyond that, I hope that they understand that we’re in a better position than any country in the world to lead the world. And we’re coming back and it’s about time.”
Added Jill Biden of her hopes for America: “It’s what I would always tell my students: Be positive, be optimistic and be kind to one another.”
Watch the interview below.
Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve is produced by Dick Clark Productions, which is owned by Penske Media Eldridge, a joint venture between Penske Media Corporation and Eldridge that also owns The Hollywood Reporter.
New Hampshire’s unsanctioned Democratic primary on Jan. 23 will provide the first real test of President Joe Biden’s strength within his party in 2024. No one is quite clear on how to actually measure the results.
Biden could win the contest and still look like a loser. His challenger, Dean Phillips, could lose and claim victory.
What’s certain is that political insiders will place heavy scrutiny on the outcome — and that there will be endless efforts to try and spin it.
As the sitting president, Biden has a high bar to meet. At the same time, his name won’t appear on the ballot thanks to his push to make South Carolina the first primary — forcing voters to pencil him in. Ultimately, officials say the winner will not collect any delegates because New Hampshire is holding its Democratic primary before any other in defiance of the national party, which stripped the state of its century-old first-in-the-nation status last year.
Even though they’re rarely successful, primary challenges have a way of sometimes upending assumptions about incumbent presidents — particularly ones whose electoral chances seem wobbly. Phillips, a longshot, is hoping to recreate Eugene McCarthy’s better-than-expected showing against then-President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968.
Given the unusual state of affairs, POLITICO quizzed more than a dozen Democratic strategists and party officials to see what they think would qualify as a victory for Biden or Phillips.
There were, in general, four types of responses: those who believe Biden needs to win somewhere around 60 percent to avoid embarrassment; those who think Phillips only has to take 30 percent to 40 percent to claim momentum (he’s not the only non-Biden candidate running); those who argue any win is a win for Biden; and those who just plain don’t know.
Steve Shurtleff, the former state House Speaker and a Phillips supporter, said the Minnesota congressman just needs “around 40 percent” to succeed. As for Biden, he said, “If the president fell below 60 percent, then he’s in serious trouble.”
The Phillips campaign has set 42 percent as a barometer for success, according to one of his advisers, who was granted anonymity to discuss the team’s internal thinking.
McCarthy, a Minnesota senator, a staunch anti-Vietnam War Democrat who drew strong support from young voters, earned 42 percent of the vote in the 1968 New Hampshire primary against Johnson. McCarthy’s victory-in-defeat played a key role in forcing Johnson out of the race, which Phillips is aiming to see happen with Biden.
“You had an incumbent president with less-than-stellar favorables who was not on the ballot in New Hampshire and whose insurgent opponent got 42 percent. And that president saw fit to withdraw from the race,” said the Phillips adviser. “So I would say that it’s an important historical analog.”
Even some Democrats backing Biden agree with that benchmark. One pro-Biden Democratic strategist who has worked on New Hampshire campaigns, and who, like others for this story, was granted anonymity to frankly discuss a sensitive issue, said, “realistically, [Biden] needs to do better than 60 percent.”
A second New Hampshire Democratic operative supporting Biden said that Phillips may only need to win 30 percent of the vote “to really surprise people.” After all, he is a relatively unknown member of Congress from a midwest state running against an incumbent. He shouldn’t be in the ballpark.
Either way, New Hampshire stands to make or break Phillips, who has grounded his entire bid on a strong showing in the state. He has spent about $380,000 on broadcast TV ads there, according to the ad-tracking firm AdImpact, and over the past two months has barnstormed the state with bus tours and town halls. A super PAC, We Deserve Better, Inc., is also running pro-Phillips digital spots in the state.
Even if he caught fire in New Hampshire, it could be difficult to sustain momentum given the primary calendar. Next up is South Carolina, the state that propelled Biden to the nomination in 2020, and Nevada, where Phillips isn’t on the ballot.
In recent New Hampshire polls, Phillips is also far from reaching 30 percent, let alone 42. A December Saint Anselm College poll found Phillips winning 10 percent, followed closely by Marianne Williamson, a self-help author, who earned 7 percentage points. Biden was also under the level some Democrats are hoping he reaches: Fifty percent said they would write him in.
The ceiling for Biden isn’t unanimous support. Former President Barack Obama received just under 81 percent in 2012 for his reelection bid in the state with no serious primary opponents, while former President Bill Clinton took 84 percent of the vote in 1996.
Several Biden backers — and even some of his critics — said the president simply needs to win, especially given the complexities of a write-in campaign.
“In my mind, he just needs to win,” said former Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.). “I’m not playing around with the numbers.”
But some state Democrats are anxious about pulling that off given the circumstances, which include having 21 candidates on the ballot. As a third New Hampshire Democratic operative who backs Biden said, “It’s going to be difficult to get to a plurality because there’s never been a major write-in campaign for anything here … so, yes, I’m nervous about that.”
A fourth Democratic strategist supporting Biden echoed that concern, saying they hope more voters write him in than leave their ballot blank. But, the person added, “I have no idea what a win looks like in New Hampshire under these circumstances.”
Though Biden is not campaigning in the state, his allies in New Hampshire have gotten behind a grassroots group, as well as a super PAC, aimed at encouraging voters to write in his name. Granite for America, the super PAC, dropped a pro-Biden digital ad Friday, while the write-in group is coordinating volunteers and raising awareness for voters.
“We hope to be able to do direct mail, too, but everything depends on how much and how fast we can raise,” said Kathy Sullivan, who’s helping to lead the super PAC. She declined to say how much money the group had raised so far.
Virtually every Democratic official in the state is standing with Biden in the primary. Well-known and rising Democrats outside the state, such as House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), have also encouraged voters in New Hampshire to write in Biden’s name.
Other big names, like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Gov. Josh Shapiro (D-Pa), have praised Biden at recent stops in New Hampshire.
“The day after our New Hampshire presidential primary, I want the story to be that Joe Biden won an unconventional Democratic primary as a write-in candidate,” said New Hampshire House Democratic Leader Matt Wilhelm in a statement. “A win without actually being on the ballot would be a highly impressive feat.”
A national Democratic operative said the fact that New Hampshire Democratic leaders are united behind Biden and working aggressively for the write-in effort is a sign of strength for Biden.
Kurt Ehrenberg, a former senior Bernie Sanders adviser in the state who is highly critical of the president, said all Biden needs is “50 percent plus 1,” but “I’m not sure he’ll get it” because “winding up as a write-in campaign is the worst possible malpractice.”