- The Washington Times - Friday, June 7, 2019

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s flip-flop on using taxpayer money for abortion highlights what Trump campaign officials consider an inevitable weakness of the Democratic presidential candidates and Mr. Biden in particular — their primary battle for liberal voters will force the winner too far left for the general election against President Trump.

Mr. Biden on Thursday night reversed a position he’s held since 1976, saying he no longer supports the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding for most abortions. The shift puts him in line with top rivals for the Democratic nomination.

Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said Mr. Biden’s reversal is a sign of more flip-flops to come.

“After [43] years of one policy position, he flips on the Hyde Amendment,” Mr. Murtaugh told The Washington Times in a recent interview. “He is jettisoning all his prior held beliefs because he knows he can’t run in the center. There’s no way that he can run as a centrist and be successful.”

Mr. Biden’s change of position was technically a flip-flop-flip. He told an ACLU volunteer in South Carolina last month that the Hyde Amendment “can’t stay.” But his campaign said as recently as Wednesday that Mr. Biden still supported the amendment.

Then he announced Thursday night that “circumstances change,” adding that he believes abortion is “under attack,” especially for minorities and the poor.

“If I believe health care is a right, as I do, I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent on someone’s ZIP code,” Mr. Biden said.

Trump campaign officials say the move would put Mr. Biden out of step with general election voters, noting the Hyde Amendment has been approved annually on a bipartisan basis in Congress since 1976.

Mr. Murtaugh said Mr. Biden’s reversal is an indication of a bigger challenge facing the eventual Democratic nominee in the fall of 2020.

“There’s no centrist space, and you’ve got to get left,” he said. “No matter who the Democrats put up in the end, it makes no difference. They all know where the policy lane is. It’s going to get narrowed down to one obvious path that the radical wing of that party is directing everybody towards.”

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, said Mr. Trump’s “steadfast pro-life leadership … stands in stark contrast to 2020 Democrats uniform extremism on the abortion issue.”

“While Joe Biden may be taking a political expedient position in the Democratic primary as candidates race to the left on abortion, he will pay the price in the general election,” she said. “Joe Biden is supposed to be the one candidate who can win back working class Democrats who backed Trump — this will prove to be a fatal move should he be the nominee.”

Tom Howell Jr. contributed to this story.

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