- Joe Biden says if he doesn't do well in Iowa caucuses, his campaign is over
- Senator says he needs to come in first, second, or a strong third
- "We're gaining some traction in Iowa," Biden says, despite lagging polls
- Political experts not so sure; one says Biden is considered "a loose cannon"
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, behind in polls and campaign money, is betting the farm on Iowa's leadoff caucuses, hoping a strong showing will rocket him to the top of the field.
If not, Biden admits he'll be an early footnote in the race for his party's nomination.
"I'm counting on Iowa a lot," Biden said in an interview with The Associated Press. "My expectation is that I come in first, second or an indistinguishable third. To tell you the truth, if I don't, then this has been a nice exercise and I'll see you again when you come to visit Washington.""I don't need $100 million to compete in Iowa," Biden said. "My observation over time is you Iowans are kind of contrarians. You don't anoint front-runners."
Biden seems to relish the nonstop campaigning. His schedule can take him through a half-dozen stops a day. He routinely runs late, slapping backs and schmoozing as he makes the sale one voter at a time.
"I'm a pretty good retail campaigner," he said.
That, he contends, will pay off this fall as the caucuses near and Iowans begin paying closer attention.
Although he's betting everything on Iowa, Biden said the movement of large-population states to the start of the nominating process means a poor showing in the leadoff caucuses would be disastrous for any candidate. Without the boost from a top finish in Iowa and New Hampshire, even the front-runners will be in trouble, he said.
That dictates a simple campaign strategy, Biden said."It's kind of like Iowa, Iowa, Iowa, Iowa," Biden said. "New Hampshire, New Hampshire, New Hampshire."