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Top Biden backer warns he’s at risk of losing New Hampshire

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Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign stop in Laconia, N.H., on Friday. | Mary Schwalm/AP Photo

2020 Elections

The lion of the state Senate gives some blunt advice to the Democratic frontrunner.

LACONIA, N.H. — One of Joe Biden’s most high-profile supporters in New Hampshire warned the candidate during a one-on-one exchange Friday that he and his campaign need to make immediate changes to win the first-in-the-nation primary.

Lou D’Allesandro, the longest-serving state senator and highest-ranking elected official in the state who’s endorsed Biden, spoke with the candidate before a town hall event here. D’Allesandro was blunt in his advice: Listen more. Talk less. Answer succinctly. Get your campaign operation organized.

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I told him that he’s gotta energize his speeches, and they need to be shorter and more to the point,” D’Allesandro said. “He’s gotta zero in on things and address them, and address them succinctly.”

“Yes, I know that,” Biden replied, according to D’Allesandro.

D’Allesandro, who is known as the lion of New Hampshire’s senate, was so concerned he drove more than an hour to get a word in with Biden.

The candidate then held an hour-long town hall that some attendees, including D’Allesandro, described as sleepy at times.

“He went a little too long,” D’Allesandro said afterward. “It’s heartfelt, I understand that. But indeed the people want to hear what you are going to do for them.”

Other prominent Democrats in the state agreed with the state senator’s overall critique of Biden, and noted his campaign appears less than organized. For example, key local Democrats were not sent invitations to Friday’s event.

“Some of their events are a cluster f–k,” said a senior Democratic party member who is uncommitted in the primary and asked for anonymity to speak candidly.

Some Biden supporters in Iowa have similar concerns about the candidate and his operation.

“I think Vice President Biden needs to speak less, and listen more, and let people talk,” said Iowa State Senator Tony Bisignano. “When you campaign and you knock on a door, what you should be doing is 75 percent talking about them, and hear how they are doing.”

The criticism comes as Biden’s campaign earlier this week downplayed expectations for both Iowa and New Hampshire, saying neither state is a must-win. While polling shows Biden in the lead in both states, no comprehensive poll has been done in either state for more than a month.

Former Amb. Terry Shumaker, who has been a Biden supporter since he first worked on his presidential campaign in 1987, said he didn’t have an issue with the campaign lowering expectations in the first two voting states.

“Put yourself in their position,” said former Amb. Terry Shumaker, who has been a Biden supporter since he first worked on his campaign in 1987. “If you don’t win, then they throw it back at you … I think it’s being realistic: No one state is essential.”

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