After months of speculation, the wait is over Vice President Joe Biden has made his decision and he will not run for president. Biden announced that he would not pursue the Democratic presidential nomination in a statement delivered on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015 in the White House Rose Garden flanked by President Barack Obama on one side and his wife Dr. Jill Biden on the other. Biden expressed in his announcement “I’ve concluded, it [the window] has closed.” The announcement ends weeks of speculation that Biden would run for the nomination with indications that the vice president was leaning towards running.
Speaking in the Rose Garden around noon, Biden announced, “As the family and I have worked through the grieving process, I have said all along and time again what I have said to others that the process, by the time we get through it, closes the window on mounting a realistic campaign for president. That it might close. I have concluded it has closed…. I believe we’re out of time, the time necessary to mount a winning campaign for the nomination.”
Biden, 72 had been mourning his son Beau who died of brain cancer on May 30, and that period of mourning and pushing off a decision to run made a campaign logistically impossible as primary ballot deadlines neared. The remaining candidates had declared their candidacies months ago and the 2016 presidential campaign is clearly in full swing. Biden would have faced many logistical obstacles including staffing and fundraising, creating a successful campaign framework so late in the game.
Many political pundits and Democrats believed that Biden lost his chance when he did not declare his candidacy before the first Democratic primary debate last week on Tuesday, Oct. 13, and he did not participate. Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton won the debate, and saw a boost in the polls afterwards as a result.
Just this morning, the Associated Press-GfK poll released a poll that concluded, “Nine in 10 Democrats think it would be possible for Clinton to win the general election if she were the nominee, while seven in 10 say the same of Biden.” The AP poll also shows “Three-quarters of Americans think Clinton could win in a general election, including two-thirds of Republicans.”
Meanwhile only “56 percent of Americans think Biden could win and just 44 percent think Sanders could.” Biden has consistently polled third after Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed socialist, who has been gaining major support for his progressive views, but as the AP noted the American public is split about Sanders chances for actually winning an election.
The vice president’s speech however, for the most part did sound like a man who would not run for president. As CNN noted, “Biden positioned himself as a defender of the Obama legacy and made clear he views himself as the best possible successor to the President.” The vice president also defended “Democratic values” including economic inequality and issue of great importance to the Obama administration.
Biden promised to remain involved in the campaign, “While I will not be a candidate, I will not be silent. I intend to speak out clearly and forcefully, to influence as much as I can where we stand as a party and where we need to go as a nation.”
One thing Biden did not do was endorse Clinton, who in the past couple of days had mounted an invisible campaign against Biden, trying to prove to the vice president there was no room in the campaign for him, and that she had locked down most of the support he needed.
Yesterday evening Biden also took a swipe against Clinton referring to her debate remarks calling the GOP her “enemy.” Biden spoke at a gala honoring former Vice President Walter Mondale, where he said the Democrats have to “end this notion that enemy is the other party.” Biden said, “It’s most important that everyone in this room understand the other team is not the enemy. If you treat it as the enemy, there is no way you can ever resolve the problems we have.”
At a Monday morning, Oct. 19 panel on Mondale, Biden actually said he liked some Republicans. Biden admitted, “I don’t think my chief enemy is the Republican Party. This is a matter of making things work.” Biden also praised his Republican predecessor former Vice President Dick Cheney, saying, “I actually like Dick Cheney, for real. I get on with him. I think he’s a decent man.”
Still despite showing his love for the Republicans, Biden’s announcement comes at a time that helps Clinton’s campaign the most, the day before she is set to testify in front on the House Select Committee on Benghazi. Additionally, most polls show that Biden support’s in the polls will transfer to Clinton giving her an edge over Sanders and making her road to winning the nomination much smoother. Biden’s decision however, deprived Democrats and the American public an actual choice for the Democratic nomination, making the race into coronation rather than an actual campaign.