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In NYT's Cornucopia of Stories on 2016 Prospects, It's Hillary 1, GOP and Joe Biden Zero

Campaign 2016 has already started, and the New York Times weighed in on the presidential hopefuls in three stories Tuesday. So far, it's a hail for Hillary, a ho-hum greeting for Joe Biden, and hostility toward Republican governors Chris Christie and Bobby Jindal.

David Halbfinger's Tuesday front-page story was loaded with hostility toward New Jersey's governor: "Brash Christie Plays Rutgers Circumspectly."

It does not take much for Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey to uncork his temper. He has called a Navy combat veteran an “idiot,” suggested reporters “take the bat” to a lawmaker in her 70s, and gone taunt-to-taunt with detractors on the boardwalk and in countless town hall meetings.

But it was a much more circumspect Mr. Christie who had very little to say last week about the uproar over the Rutgers University men’s basketball coach, Mike Rice, and how administrators there had dealt with the coach before a videotape surfaced last Tuesday showing a compilation of his verbal and physical abuse of players.

While the Times went after Christie's metaphorical "bat" attack in April 2011, it ignored much harsher Democratic attacks on Republican politicians, and continues to do so. Halbfinger later portrayed Christie as a bully.

The scandal over the coach was also, several critics said, a reminder of what they say is the way Mr. Christie’s persona seems to teeter between straight-shooting truth-teller and a bully himself -- albeit one who has not been accused of physical violence or slurs against homosexuality, as Mr. Rice was.

Also on Tuesday, Campbell Robertson reported from Baton Rouge on Louisiana's Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal withdrawing his tax reform plan, "A Governor Retrenches on a Big Idea – Leader With National Profile Is Battered by Setbacks in Louisiana."

But it was a rare admission of defeat for Mr. Jindal, 41, a constant Republican in the mix for 2016 and rising conservative luminary since his early 20s. And it was only the latest in a season of setbacks....But in a state that is still poor, routine deep budget cuts -- made even deeper after routine midyear revenue shortfalls -- are hard to counter with a message of growth, said Bernie Pinsonat, whose polling firm, Southern Media & Opinion Research, released a survey last week showing Mr. Jindal’s approval rating below even that of President Obama’s within the state.

Peter Baker's Tuesday report was ostensibly about VP Joe Biden's presidential prospects, but the spirit of Hillary hovered over every line of "Early Line for 2016 Shows a Vice President Who's Not the Favorite."

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. showed up late at an event last week, saying he was delayed because “the president keeps those meetings going longer.” But he walked into a Hillary Clinton crowd. Outside, supporters hoisted signs urging her to run for president. Inside, she was greeted as a hero.

Not that Mr. Biden was an afterthought. He had plenty of friends in the room. But at the Kennedy Center, where women’s achievements were being honored by an organization Mrs. Clinton helped found, even Mr. Biden recognized that the best applause line belonged to her. “There’s no woman like Hillary Clinton,” he said. “That’s a fact.”

Mr. Biden faces a situation unique in the annals of modern American politics. He is the vice president, the highest-ranking member of his party interested in running for president, yet he is not the heir apparent. While every sitting vice president who sought it in the last half-century captured his party’s nomination, Mr. Biden would start as the underdog if he ran against Mrs. Clinton, the former secretary of state.

After pointing out that Biden had assured Obama he would not be running for president, Baker finally tossed in a mention of Biden's gaffe-prone persona.

Since then, his public identity has evolved. An archetype of one, Mr. Biden comes across as a genial, idiosyncratic uncle, a loquacious storyteller with distinctive verbal tics -- “literally!” -- and unrestrained by the filter that governs many political figures. If his critics consider him a blowhard, he connects with everyday voters in a way that the more reserved Mr. Obama does not.