Joe Biden may be on an eight-day "No Malarkey" bus tour across Iowa, but that is not stopping him from squeezing in high-dollar fundraisers in different states.
Biden traded small-town Iowa venues for a downtown Chicago private social club on Monday evening, where he spoke to a room of about 70 donors, several of whom were trial lawyers. He returns to Iowa on Tuesday during the day but will head to New York City for private fundraisers in the evening.
The eight-day bus tour comes about two months before the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses. Biden has slipped to fourth place in the RealClearPolitics average of Iowa primary polls, and his advisers previously suggested that winning Iowa was not necessary for Biden to win the nomination. But while kicking off his bus tour, the former vice president pledged to win Iowa.
Securing donations, however, appears to be as important to the Biden campaign as nailing down support from Iowans. Analysts have pointed to Biden's lackluster fundraising and reliance on high-dollar fundraisers as a sign of weakness for his campaign.
Biden campaign manager Greg Schultz indicated that fundraising improved in recent months. "This campaign raised as much money in the first two months of this quarter as we did in the WHOLE third quarter," he said in a fundraising email on Monday.
During the Chicago fundraiser, Biden criticized Trump for withholding aid to Ukraine earlier this year and for asking the Ukrainian president to look into Biden and his son, Hunter -- actions at the center of House impeachment proceedings against Trump.
"Ukrainians are getting shot dead now as I speak by Russians wearing uniforms without patches on them -- now to try to bring down that government," Biden said, according to a pool report. "And what's he doing? He holds up the aid to try to get the new prime minister to say, 'I'll investigate Biden.' Thank God, he's told him that I'm not going to do that."
"Take me out of it and think about a president who decides he's going to withhold aid while other people are dying -- dying -- we don't talk about that," Biden said. "They're dying in order to get somebody to say we'll investigate my opponent. This guy has no moral center."