- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 22, 2016

Vice President Joseph R. Biden said Thursday that Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election because she never knew why she was running, and she felt a “burden” to become the first woman president.

“I don’t think she ever really figured it out,” Mr. Biden told the Los Angeles Times in an interview published Thursday. “And by the way, I think it was really hard for her to decide to run.”

Mr. Biden also accused President-elect Donald Trump of playing to voters’ prejudices during the campaign.

As the first female major party nominee, Mr. Biden said, Mrs. Clinton felt she was carrying an enormous weight on her shoulders for all women.

“She thought she had no choice but to run,” he said. “That, as the first woman who had an opportunity to win the presidency, I think it was a real burden on her.”

The vice president, 74, considered challenging Mrs. Clinton for the Democratic nomination but ultimately rejected a bid in the wake of the death of his son, Beau, from brain cancer in 2015.

Other top Democrats have criticized Mrs. Clinton’s campaign strategy and work ethic, and Mr. Biden echoed some of those criticisms, saying she and her team didn’t appeal strongly enough to working-class Democrats. He has raised those concerns previously, saying Democratic officials increasingly come across as Ivy League-educated elitists.

Mr. Biden said he began to worry that Donald Trump could win the election when the vice president saw how the Republican excited mostly white audiences at events such as one rally near Mr. Biden’s hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania.

“Son of a gun. We may lose this election,” Mr. Biden said he remembered thinking. “They’re all the people I grew up with. They’re their kids. And they’re not racist. They’re not sexist. But we didn’t talk to them.”

Still, Mr. Biden said Mr. Trump did not offer better solutions than Mrs. Clinton for the challenges faced by the middle class.

“I don’t think he understands working-class or middle-class people,” Mr. Biden said. “He at least acknowledged the pain. But he played to the prejudice. He played to the fear. He played to the desperation. There was nothing positive that I ascertained when he spoke to these folks that was uplifting.”

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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