Vice President Joe Biden is officially out.
In a speech in the White House Rose Garden on Tuesday, Biden declared that he would not seek the presidency.
“As my family and I worked through the grieving process, I’ve said all along what I’ve said time and again to others, that it very well may be that the process, by the time that we get through it, closes the window on mounting a realistic campaign for president,” Biden said.
“I have concluded that it has closed.”
Biden has been publicly flirting with the idea of running a third time for months, and speculation intensified over the summer as Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton stumbled.
Following the death of his late son, former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, earlier this year, the vice president has publicly mused if he and his family are prepared for a gruelling presidential campaign.
In an emotional interview on “The Late Show” with Stephen Colbert earlier this year, Biden pondered whether he had the stamina to campaign in light of his son’s death.
“I don’t think any man or woman should run for president unless, No. 1, they know exactly why they would want to be president. And two, they can look at folks out there, and say I promise you have my whole heart, my whole soul, my energy, and my passion,” Biden said.
“And I’d be lying if I said that I knew I was there. I’m being completely honest. Nobody has a right in my view to seek that office unless they are willing to give it 110% of who they are.”
In recent weeks, Biden and his close allies had been manoeuvring behind the scenes to lay the groundwork for a campaign. Several Biden aides met with members of the Democratic National Committee to discuss state filing deadlines earlier this month. Former Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Delaware), a top Biden political adviser, sent a letter to Biden loyalists last week detailing what kind of campaign the vice president would run.
“If he runs, he will run because of his burning conviction that we need to fundamentally change the balance in our economy and the political structure to restore the ability of the middle class to get ahead. And whether we can get a political consensus in America to get it done,” Kaufman said.
“And what kind of campaign? An optimistic campaign. A campaign from the heart. A campaign consistent with his values, our values, and the values of the American people. And I think it’s fair to say, knowing him as we all do, that it won’t be a scripted affair — after all, it’s Joe.”
Biden would have faced significant electoral challenges.
Despite his name recognition, eight years as vice president, and decades in the US Senate, Biden gets into the race significantly behind Clinton, who currently leads among Democratic primary voters in every national poll.
Clinton also would have had a significant monetary advantage over the vice president, who would have needed to begin fundraising immediately to try and match the millions that Clinton has raised since becoming a candidate in April. Biden also would have needed to quickly build up his campaign infrastructure in early states, where Clinton and Sanders are both already established.
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