DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) — Vice President Joe Biden, widely assumed to be plotting a third presidential bid in 2016, shouldn’t bother booking any flights to Des Moines, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad said.
“Biden is dead meat out here,” Branstad asserted Wednesday in an interview with CNN inside his office at the gilded state capitol building. “He is not going anywhere.”
Branstad, a 67-year old Republican, admitted his lack of familiarity with the passions of Iowa’s liberal Democratic caucus-goers, but he was unusually blunt when discussing Biden’s latest flirtation with the White House.
“Washington, D.C. is extremely unpopular,” he said. “Biden is so associated with this administration and all of its failures. He was unpopular before and he is even less popular now.”
Just 38% of Iowans approve of the job President Obama is doing, a Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday found, a number Branstad cited repeatedly. It’s the President’s worst performance ever in Quinnipiac surveys of Iowa, the state that launched his historic presidential campaign in 2008.
The poll did not measure Biden’s standing.
Branstad was more charitable when chatting about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but he predicted that she, too, will be dragged down by her ties to Washington and the flagging popularity of the president if she decides to run.
“I am probably not the one to ask about a Democratic caucus because I have never been to one,” he said. “But in terms of the electorate here, I think that Washington D.C. is extremely unpopular, and she is associated with Washington D.C. and served in [Obama’s] administration.”
Unprompted, Branstad cited another Quinnipiac poll released this week that showed Clinton losing Iowa in a hypothetical 2016 general election match-up against New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Asked if Iowa Democrats might be open to someone other than Clinton, Branstad said there is “potential and possibility.”
“I saw some senator from Massachusetts that liberals are intrigued by,” he said, gesturing to his press aide for a clue.
“Elizabeth Warren,” the aide offered, naming the senator who ruled out a 2016 bid earlier this month, pledging to serve the remainder of a term that runs through 2018.