CEDAR RAPIDS — Joe Biden has been telling campaign crowds that his foreign policy experience sets him apart in the expansive field of Democratic candidates for president.
That argument has been joined by a voice new to this primary but familiar to caucus seasons past, and is one that speaks from experience on the worldwide stage.
John Kerry, who won the 2004 Iowa Democratic caucuses and served four years as U.S. Secretary of State, joined Biden at a campaign event Friday in Cedar Rapids.
Kerry, who was secretary of state from 2013 to 2017 under President Barack Obama and then-Vice President Biden, said he decided to endorse Biden because of his ability to win tough elections and his foreign policy experience.
“That’s the experience that we need going into this. And if you haven’t been on that kind of a stage, if you don’t know what it’s like to prepare to talk to not just Americans but the billions of people around the world who are watching, that’s a different game,” Kerry told Iowa reporters in Cedar Rapids. “When you combine what it takes to get elected with what it’s going to take to govern in this much more complicated world than ever before, I think he brings a unique skill set and abilities to the table.”
Kerry said that type of experience is especially vital in this election. He was critical of President Donald Trump’s foreign policies and suggested the next president will need to lead on the world stage — in addition to leading the nation.
Kerry also suggested such a critical time demands an experienced candidate.
“Experience does matter. Believe me, after all the years I’ve been around, and I know the arguments. When we were both young, we said, ‘Hey, time for a change or time for something new,’” Kerry said. “But I’m telling you right now, never have I seen a moment where it’s more important that someone can pick up a phone and talk to a (foreign) president or foreign minister that they’ve worked with before, who know them, who trust looking to American for leadership. And I think that’s what Joe Biden uniquely brings to this fight.”
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Biden said the Trump administration has left a leadership void in world affairs. The United States needs to re-establish itself as a global leader, he said.
“If we don’t, the bad guys will fill the vacuum,” Biden said. “Not every presidential election requires the same assets for the nominee to bring to the table. But this election is probably the only one in our lifetime, anyway, where you’re going to have to, on Day 1, try to put a nation together that is seriously divided, and try to, in fact, bring the world back together, reassure our allies.”
The national Republican Party, in a statement, dismissed Kerry’s endorsement of Biden as “one losing presidential candidate endorsing another.”