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Two sophomores ‘Draft Biden’ for presidential run

Paige James | Hatchet Photographer
Paige James | Hatchet Photographer

As rumors circulate about Vice President Joe Biden’s decision to run for president, two sophomores are preparing for the possibility of meeting him on the campaign trail.

Daniel Burke and Chris McCann, both political science majors, started GW Draft Biden l​ast week, bringing the number of on­-campus groups rallying support for 2016 presidential hopefuls up to at least five.

“The idea just came up that GW has a Hillary group, a Bernie Group, a Rubio group, a Jeb group, so why not a Biden group? And it’s probably the right time to do it,” he said.

GW Students for Hillary has been rallying support for the former Secretary of State since April 2013 with Ready for Hillary, the super PAC that backed Clinton before the announcement of her presidential bid in April.

Although President Barack Obama’s right-hand man has yet to make an official campaign announcement, Politico reported earlier this week that Biden is expected to make a decision this weekend and is leaning toward entering the race.

“He’s just the best candidate for president, I think,” Burke said. “He has a balance of experience in being one of the longest-serving senators in history, and also the progressivism and authenticity that can really connect to people on campus.”

In the meantime, Draft Biden looks to establish a base at GW. The group held its first meeting Wednesday night to recruit an executive board for the group, which they hope will eventually become Vote for Biden at GW. If Biden decides not to run, the pair hasn’t decided who they will support in the election.

The duo has also been formulating the groundwork for what they call a three-­part, long-term plan. They plan to focus first on student and political advocacy, which would include making phone calls, writing to legislators and any other way they can generate support for Biden.

Both Burke and McCann said they have experience working on campaigns, from working in local governments to the congressional level.

Burke said he hopes the group will not only generate support for Biden, but show GW students the benefits of working on a campaign.

“It’s a fun way to interact with your community and get to know your community better as well. You can also discover what it’s like to really have an impact, and spread the word for something you believe in,” Burke said.

Once Biden establishes himself as a candidate, Burke said Biden’s record will speak for itself in the quest to become president.

“I think Biden has shown a commitment to the middle class and income inequality. I think he can match any candidate that’s out there. I think he’s shown throughout his career that he’s willing to fight for regular people, and it’s something that you can tell that he sincerely believes in,” Burke said. “There is an authenticity to him that resonates.”

Burke and McCann also hope they can then build an intercollegiate web of support with the creations of Vote for Biden chapters at college campuses across the country. A petition by the national group Draft Biden 2016 has more than 200,000 signatures.

“Ideally, we would like to start small. We’ll do American University, Georgetown, Catholic, but I have friends that have expressed interest in Biden at campuses as far away as Brown,” McCann said. “See if we can start other chapters there, maybe have GW as the national base for a college students for Biden.”

But even if the group doesn’t win support on other college campuses, their cause already has an unlikely backing from a Republican front-runner.

“[Donald] Trump even said it himself, that it’s going to be Trump versus Biden in the general election. So there we go,” McCann said.

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