The New York Times played white knight for candidate Joe Biden after Republican Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa so cruelly brought up the controversy surrounding Biden’s son Hunter and his lucrative, controversial position at Ukrainian energy company Burisma, which is at center stage during impeachment proceedings.
Reporters Thomas Kaplan and Nick Corasaniti tried to turn things around on Ernst in defense of the Democrat in “Joni Ernst Asks if Impeachment Trial Will Turn Iowa Caucusgoers Against Biden. They Answer. -- As Mr. Biden campaigned in the state, residents appeared unmoved: ‘I don’t think much about anything Joni Ernst says.’”
(The hostile quote is from a Warren-supporting Iowan.)
After sitting through hours of arguments in the impeachment trial of President Trump on Monday, where his legal team focused on how Mr. Biden’s son, Hunter, had nabbed a lucrative position on the board of a Ukrainian energy company, Ms. Ernst addressed reporters in the basement of the Capitol.
“Iowa caucuses are this next Monday evening,” she said. “And I’m really interested to see how this discussion today informs and influences the Iowa caucus voters, those Democratic caucusgoers. Will they be supporting Vice President Biden at this point?”
It was less news article than Democratic rebuttal:
At an event in Muscatine on Tuesday, a handmade sign on the wall seemed to answer her directly: “Joni -- We’re w/ Joe.”
Mr. Biden responded to Ms. Ernst’s comments head-on, presenting them as proof that Mr. Trump’s team was using the impeachment trial to try to hobble his candidacy.
“She spilled the beans,” Mr. Biden told the crowd, speaking in a room overlooking the Mississippi River on a gray winter day. “She just came out and flat said it. You know, the whole impeachment trial for Trump is just a political hit job to try to smear me...."
If the trial is just an anti-Biden hit job, why are the Democrats pushing it? It seems obvious that Democrats would react to a Republican bashing Biden by defending Biden. But if the whole point is picking the most electable Democrat, then maybe Biden isn't their man?
So, could a shot from Iowa’s junior senator, launched from a microphone in the bowels of the Capitol in Washington, put the polarizing impeachment process in the minds of Democratic caucusgoers in Iowa?
The answer, as Mr. Biden campaigned in Iowa on Tuesday, seemed clear.
“She’s just mouthing everything that the president is saying,” said Donna Cantrell, 70, who came to see Mr. Biden in Muscatine. She plans to support him next week and said the president’s attacks would not persuade her otherwise.
After rallying hard for Biden, the reporters finally “offered a different take,” i.e., letting Ernst briefly have a say, and then adding:
The Iowa Senate race is crucial to Democrats’ hopes of retaking the Senate. Theresa Greenfield, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s preferred candidate in the primary, wasted no time capitalizing on Ms. Ernst’s remarks.
(One is surprised Greenfield didn’t “pounce” on the remarks -- perhaps only Republicans are so crude?)