- The Washington Times - Friday, August 26, 2016

Vice President Joseph R. Biden said he’s advised Hillary Clinton to “show your soul a little more” to voters, and he believes too many Democratic leaders don’t understand the middle class anymore.

In an interview with the Atlantic published Friday, the vice president said Mrs. Clinton is understandably fearful of revealing too much of herself to the public after enduring years of partisan battles.

“She says she’s no Bill Clinton, she’s not a natural — and sometimes paranoia is justified, you know?” Mr. Biden said. “She has been so battered for so long.”

The Democratic nominee is being criticized for not holding a press conference in 265 days, amid scrutiny of what the FBI director has called her “careless” handling of classified emails on a private server while she was secretary of State.

Mr. Biden, who considered challenging Mrs. Clinton for the Democratic nomination, said he urges her to show more of her personality on the campaign trail.

“My advice to Hillary [is] to open up, to show your soul a little more, show your vulnerability,” the vice president said. “I could understand why, given her experiences, after 40 years of what she’s been through, that’s a hard thing to do.”

The vice president also gave Mrs. Clinton a back-handed compliment, saying he is “more optimistic about her chances, in large part because of him [Republican nominee Donald Trump].”

While she was secretary of state, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Biden met for lunch once a week whenever possible. Mr. Biden said she often sought his advice on foreign policy.

Hillary has an open mind,” he said. “I think that she can use her reputation for being hard-edged to some advantage. Everybody talks about her having a terrible relationship with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin. That’s not such a bad thing right now, because he knows he can’t push her around.”

Mr. Biden, who as a senator often claimed to be one of the least-wealthy lawmakers in Congress, also said too many Obama administration officials have lost touch with middle-class voters.

“The truth is we are not showing enough respect [to voters],” Mr. Biden said. “There is a new breed of Democrat that is represented by our administration, in my view, and the smart guys, the guys and gals who are Harvard, Yale, Penn graduates; the very, very well-informed, well-educated, elites of the party. They are the new version, if they don’t watch it, of the limousine liberals when I was coming up in the ‘60s.”

He added, “At its core there’s a disconnect with some really, really, really smart, good, decent people who are with us and part of the larger Democratic younger elite, the millennial elite who don’t understand the middle class anymore.”

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