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Biden Campaign Adviser Reacts To Iowa Caucuses Results — Or Lack Thereof

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

We're still awaiting results from Iowa a day after troubles with an app threw the caucuses there into chaos. The Iowa Democratic Party says it will release the majority of results about an hour from now. They blamed a coding issue for last night's problems. There are also widespread reports of precinct leaders who opted not to use the smartphone app at all. Many of them had problems reporting their results by phone.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

We will hear more about those problems in a bit. Right now we're going to hear from the campaign of former Vice President Joe Biden. Symone Sanders is a senior adviser to Biden, and she joins me now from New Hampshire.

Symone Sanders, welcome.

SYMONE SANDERS: Thank you. Greetings. Happy to be here.

KELLY: Glad to have you with us. So you have been sharing some of your campaign's projections on Twitter today. I've been following along. You said you're thrilled with Joe Biden's performance in Iowa. The other candidates are citing different projections, ones that make them look good, that don't look so good for Biden. So are you confident that when the numbers eventually come out, Joe Biden will be a front-runner in Iowa?

SANDERS: Look - we are very confident about our internal data. But I'd also like to caution folks to understand that any data any campaign is sharing is based on internal data. These are not the final numbers.

KELLY: Right.

SANDERS: The reality is, we don't know the final numbers, which is why our campaign sent a letter to the Iowa Democratic Party last night urging and imploring that they check the data, check again and triple-check the data before releasing anything. So I know that there are reports that there is some type of data coming today, shortly, soon, in the coming hour.

KELLY: Right.

SANDERS: But the reality is, we need total numbers from precincts all across the state. There was a real breakdown in the process last night, from what was happening at precincts on the ground in Iowa to the app that the Iowa Democratic Party was using to the backup phone system and even with the collecting and recording and filling out a presidential preference card.

KELLY: Right. To your point...

SANDERS: So we really need to make sure we get this right.

KELLY: ...They're telling us that when they do put out results about an hour or so from now, we still won't get all of them. These will be partial results. So we still won't have full clarity about what exactly happened in Iowa and what it means going forward in the race.

SANDERS: And I think that's unfortunate. I think the voters are owed clarity, frankly, but - and the caucusgoers in Iowa. But, you know, we left Iowa last night, again, as I've said on Twitter and all day today, proud of our organization. We're in New Hampshire today. We have a full day of campaign events. We will be campaigning here aggressively over the next week. And we're looking forward to the primary on Tuesday. We've always thought...

KELLY: May I just press you on this for a minute...

SANDERS: I would just say, we've always thought...

KELLY: If I may, may I just press you on this? Because you said this is a shame for the voters. What about for candidates? Does the delay in results steal momentum from whoever ultimately comes out on top in Iowa?

SANDERS: I mean, I think that's a hypothetical. The reality is, this process has never just been about Iowa. It's not just about New Hampshire. And it's not just about Nevada or South Carolina. These first four nominating contests, we have always said, should be viewed as individual parts of one whole. They should be viewed as a package. And you don't get the full depth and breadth of anyone's strength or the lack thereof with just the Iowa results or just the New Hampshire results, frankly.

Since 1992, the Democratic nominee - no Democratic nominee has been the nominee without a substantial amount of votes from the African American community. You don't get that coming out of Iowa or New Hampshire.

KELLY: Iowa has been a fairly reliable bellwether, more so for Democratic candidates, in terms of who would go on to get the ultimate nomination. If the results end up showing Vice President Biden is not No. 1, not No. 2, maybe not in the top three, how do you continue making the argument that he is the candidate who can beat President Trump come November?

SANDERS: I mean, Donald Trump and, I would also say, Iowa Senator Joni Ernst have been making that case for us already. President Trump has entangled himself - gotten himself impeached by the House of Representatives, currently in a trial in the United States Senate all because it seems as though he was afraid of seeing Vice President Biden at the ballot box in November. He has put his presidency - it currently hangs in the balance because he tried to get a outside - another foreign entity, another foreign ally to get dirt on Vice President Biden.

So look - we think we'll be strong here. Our internal data shows that it's very, very close. We've always thought it would be close. But we've said from the beginning, Iowa is the beginning, not the end. And we intend to take this thing all the way through the first four to Super Tuesday and beyond to the convention.

KELLY: OK, Symone Sanders, we will leave it there.

Thank you so much for your time.

SANDERS: Thank you.

KELLY: She is a senior adviser to Joe Biden, Democratic candidate for president. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.