Joe Biden lays low ahead of crucial New Hampshire debate

The former vice president did not perform well in the Iowa caucuses.

February 6, 2020, 9:26 PM

Amidst a week of hopscotching from Iowa to New Hampshire, former Vice President Joe Biden is taking some time off the trail, heading to Delaware to meet with advisers ahead of the eighth Democratic debate Friday, hosted by ABC News.

The debate could be crucial for Biden, who is coming off what he called a "gut punch" in Iowa due to a lackluster performance in the caucuses, and looking to regain some ground in the race ahead of New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary Tuesday.

With 100% of precincts reporting in Iowa late Thursday, Biden was fourth with 16% of state delegate equivalents, trailing three other candidates.

An adviser to Biden told ABC News to expect to continue to see a more aggressive pitch from Biden, following his sharp criticism of fellow candidates, Sen. Bernie Sanders and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg on the trail Wednesday. Buttigieg and Sanders topped the Iowa caucuses with 26.2% and 26.1%, respectively, though Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez has called for a recanvassing in the wake of "broad irregularities."

"Joe Biden has never been handed anything in his life and he's here to fight for every delegate in this long process," an adviser told ABC News. "He will continue to offer the unvarnished truth about the stakes of this election and the urgent need for a nominee who can win the crucial battleground states on which beating Donald Trump and achieving progressive wins depends."

PHOTO: Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden leaves a campaign event in Somersworth, N.H., Feb. 5, 2020.
Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden leaves a campaign event in Somersworth, N.H., Feb. 5, 2020.
Rick Wilking/Reuters

While it might seem like an unusual move for the former vice president to be taking time off the trail in this critical moment -- especially given his shaky start in Iowa -- Biden has had a long-standing tradition of taking the days ahead of debates for preparation.

Biden has only held a public event once on a day preceding any of the seven debates staged so far -- a brief stop last month at a Des Moines campaign office to greet supporters ahead of the caucus.

Still, Biden is the only candidate on the debate stage Friday that did not hold a public event in the Granite State Thursday.

Both Sanders and Buttigieg, along with Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar, and businessmen Tom Steyer and Andrew Yang all made public appearances Thursday.

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