LOS ANGELES — Joe Biden predicted Wednesday that the field of Democratic presidential candidates would be “winnowed out pretty quickly” next year, dismissing concerns that a lengthy and contentious primary could weaken the party’s nominee.
“This field is going to be winnowed out pretty quickly,” Biden told reporters at a King Taco restaurant in Los Angeles.
Noting the 15 percent threshold for Democratic candidates in Iowa, the first-in-the-nation caucus state, and California, which will award its delegates in early March, Biden said, “It’s going to work its way through relatively quickly for all of us.”
He said he entered the race so late because “the process is already too long.”
Biden, appearing at the taco restaurant with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, was between fundraisers on the West Coast. He pledged that he would “not speak ill” of any Democratic candidate, calling an unseemly, intra-party feud the “last thing the Democratic Party needs now.” When asked about Garcetti, who has decided not to run for president, and Sen. Kamala Harris of California, who is running, Biden praised them both as “qualified.”
“This idea that … we have a lot of people who aren’t qualified or aren’t electable, come on, give me a break,” he said.
Biden continued to tear into Trump, rejecting the concerns of some Democrats that a focus on impeaching the president could help Trump politically next year.
“I don’t think we should look at it that way,” he said, accusing Trump of trying to “diminish every other branch of government.”
“Whether or not it is helpful to the Democratic candidate should not be the measure,” Biden said. “It’s about what is the responsibility of Congress to do. And I think they have to continue to push.”
Biden, the front-runner in Democratic primary polls, answered a throng of reporters’ questions while sitting beside Garcetti, who has not yet endorsed a candidate in the race.
But the mayor was ready to help Biden with a quick jab of his own at Trump.
When a woman mentioned that she owned her own spray-tanning business and asked whether he needed a spray tan, Garcetti said she had the wrong candidate.
“That’s the other guy,” he said.
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