Former Vice President Joe Biden acknowledged that his campaign suffered a setback following the partial release of the Iowa caucus results.
“I’m not going to sugarcoat it: We took a gut punch in Iowa,” Biden, a 2020 Democratic candidate for president, told supporters at a rally in New Hampshire on Feb. 5. “The whole process took a gut punch. But look, this isn’t the first time in my life I’ve been knocked down.”
The full Iowa caucus results haven’t been released, and Democratic caucus officials in the state said it isn’t clear when they will be. But the early results showed former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg with a slight lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), while Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was in third place. Biden was fourth, according to the preliminary results.
The Iowa Democratic Party released results overnight from 71 percent of the precincts. Buttigieg had 418 state delegate equivalents, Sanders had 393, Warren had 286, and Biden had 241.
Polls show Biden trailing Sanders in New Hampshire, the next state for the Democratic primary, but more polls show him leading in Nevada and South Carolina. A day before the partial Iowa caucus results came in, Biden told reporters that he would do well in Iowa.
“We had a good night last night in Iowa. I know you think that’s silly,” Biden said Feb. 4. “But everything we can feel, it’s good. Here’s the deal, we think we’re going to come out of there really doing well.”
In a speech to supporters on Feb. 5, the former vice president singled out Buttigieg and Sanders, warning attendees that Sanders would affect Democrats in down-ballot elections due to his socialist leanings. He also said Buttigieg has been critical of former President Barack Obama’s administration.
“If Sen. Sanders is the nominee for the party, every Democrat in America up and down the ballot, in blue states, red states, purple states, in easy districts and competitive ones, every Democrat will have to carry the label Sen. Sanders has chosen for himself,” Biden said in New Hampshire, according to CNN. President Donald Trump, he argued, would use the “socialist” label to politically harm Sanders if he becomes the Democratic nominee.
In targeting Buttigieg, Biden said, “Was it a failure when I helped pass Obamacare, the Paris Agreement, the Violence Against Women Act, or the assault weapons ban? I have a stronger record of passing big, progressive legislation than anyone running.”
Biden, 77, was responding to what he viewed were perceived slights from Buttigieg about his record when he served as vice president and in the Senate.
New Hampshire votes in the Democratic primary on Feb. 11.