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RNC chair Reince Priebus: Joe Biden would be 'tougher' opponent than Hillary Clinton

Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus addresses his party's first presidential debate of the season and the FBI probe into Hillary Clinton email.
/ Source: TODAY

Vice president Joe Biden would make a far more formidable candidate for Republicans than Democratic leader Hillary Clinton, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said on TODAY Wednesday.

“I think he’s probably tougher,” Priebus told Savannah Guthrie, suggesting that polls have shown Clinton has had trouble attracting support even among women voters. “Hillary Clinton has a lot of problems. I think she is an opponent that’s easy to define.”

Plus, Priebus said, she would also lose in a popularity match to the vice president, should he decide to make another White House run.

“Certainly Joe Biden is far more likable,” he said.

“I think Joe Biden is someone that a lot of people, whether they like his politics or not, they like him, and likability – you can analyze politics all you want, likability is probably the number one issue on the ballot."

Priebus also expressed optimism about Thursday night's debate, the first prime-time match up among the leading Republican candidates. Despite the crowded field, Priebus said the party will make a strong showing.

"There’s a diverse field. It’s a young field. Everyone brings a little something different to the table. I think it’s going to be a great night," he said, adding later: "I think you’re going to see a Republican party unified, trying to get the country back on track."

Fox News announced Tuesday which 10 Republicans candidates secured a spot in the prime-time debate. One of the seven lower-polling candidates who failed to make the cut, Rick Santorum, took aim at the Republican National Committee for its role in the process.

"While Fox is taking a lot of heat, the RNC deserves as much blame for sanctioning this process. They should not be picking winners and losers. That's the job of the voters," he said.

Santorum and the other six candidates who didn't make the cut have been invited to attend a separate debate, one that will take place hours before the prime-time event.