Vice President Joe Biden, who is close to making a decision on a Democratic presidential bid, worked to distinguish himself Thursday night from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, saying, in contrast, that he is "a realist.”
Speaking to the Concordia Summit on public-private partnerships in New York City, Biden mentioned his potential rival in an aside about lingering issues with the economy.
"If you take a look at everyone from the IMF to Standard & Poors, the greatest concern they have about economic growth is the concentration of wealth,” Biden said of the International Monetary Fund and the credit ratings agency. "Listen, I'm not Bernie Sanders. He's a great guy, by the way. No he really is. I’m not a populist. But I’m a realist."
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The vice president continued by saying that it’s in the interest of employers to compensate their employees well so they can go out and buy the goods and services their companies produce.
Biden has just about a month to make a final decision on a 2016 presidential bid before he hits hard legal deadlines in key states that cannot be circumvented. The vice president's biggest challenger would be Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, but his comments Thursday could be an effort to draw a contrast with a surging Sanders as well.
Speaking to union activists at a Labor Day parade last month, Biden added that Sanders was doing "a hell of a job, by the way."
A new poll out Thursday from Suffolk University and USA Today found that Biden is in a close third place behind Sanders among Democrats nationally, even though he has not declared his candidacy. Clinton leads with 41%, followed by 23% for Sanders, and 19.5% for Biden.