“I’m not planning to endorse,” Hillary Clinton told NPR on Super Tuesday. But after Joe Biden’s better-than-expected performance with voters, she practically did just that during an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon Wednesday night.
Clinton began by explaining the importance of Super Tuesday to Jimmy Fallon. “It’s the first time that the real diversity of our country is going to go out and vote and then that vote will have a big impact on the outcome, as we saw last night with Joe Biden.”
Asked by the host what she thought of Biden’s success, Clinton said, “Look, I thought it was very exciting because starting in South Carolina, he had so much energy and what he had to say was, you know, really enthusiastic and positive and about what he was going to do and who he was, and the people of South Carolina, obviously, rewarded that. And then, that kind of set off this momentum. And it carried him.”
She added that Biden “won all but, I guess, three states,” either forgetting one of the three states—Colorado, Utah and Vermont—that Bernie Sanders won decisively or neglecting to award him California before the vote count is finalized there.
The former secretary of state went on to say that she’s known Biden “a really long time,” calling him a “deeply decent person” who “doesn’t take cheap shots at people” and “doesn’t insult people as a way of, you know, trying to put people down and lift himself up.”
“He is such the opposite of what we currently have in the White House,” she continued, “that I really think a lot of people had a chance to think about it as this contest got going and decided, ‘Boy, the most important thing is we retire the incumbent.’ That’s more important than anything else. And he has the experience. He knows what needs to be done, he can repair the damage that he would be inheriting, so I think that is what was going on in people’s minds.”
It sounded an awful lot like an endorsement.
Last month, Clinton similarly stressed electability as the most important factor for the 2020 nominee during an interview with Ellen DeGeneres. When that host asked her to explain her previous criticism of Bernie Sanders, Clinton defended her claim that “nobody likes” him.
“People can have their own opinions about anybody in public life, that’s a free country, you get to do that,” she said. “But you’ve got to be responsible for what you say and what you say you’re going to do. And if you promise the moon and you can’t deliver the moon, then that’s going to be one more indicator of how we just can’t trust each other.”