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Meet the Happy (Class) Warrior: Joe Biden Tries Out a 2016 Persona

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Source: The Nation

47th Vice President of the United States
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There are not enough prominent political figures, in either of this country's two major parties, who are willing to call rich guys out.

And there are even fewer who do so with delight.

But Vice President Joe Biden would like Democrats to know that he is up to the task.

Biden earned the predictable headlines last week when he flipped the "on" switch with regard to a possible 2016 presidential run, telling CNN "There's no obvious reason for me why I think I should not run."

Never mind the polling that gives former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a 61-point lead in the race among the as-yet-unannounced contenders for the 2016 Democratic nomination, Biden's laying down his marker. That doesn't mean he will run. But Biden has read the polls that show the Democratic base is ready, very ready, for an economic populist appeal.

And he is providing it -- with a bow to Pope Francis.

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Speaking Wednesday at the United Auto Workers legislative conference in Washington, Biden noted that billionaire Ken Langone has been griping about Pope Francis. Fretting about the general difficulty of getting his fellow billionaires to make charitable donations, the business mogul complains that the pontiff's talk about income inequality is "one more hurdle I hope we don't have to deal with."

"A couple weeks ago Ken Langone, who I don't know, a billionaire founder of Home Depot, predicted that the pope -- Pope Francis's critique of income inequity -- will be, quote, 'a hurdle' for very wealthy Catholic donors, who seem to think hurt feelings trump the teachings of the Bible," the vice president recalled. "As a practicing Catholic, bless me, Father, for he has sinned."

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John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Online Beat since 1999. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.

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