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Joe says no: Biden won’t run for U.S. President

Vice President Biden said ‘window to mount a credible campaign has closed’, opening up the primaries to Clinton and Sanders

Published: Updated:

After months of tortured indecision, Vice President Joe Biden said on Wednesday he won’t be a candidate in the 2016 White House campaign.

Standing under bright sun in the White House Rose Garden, Biden spoke about mourning the recent death of his son, Beau, a process he said does not match the political calendar. While he said his family was emotionally prepared to undertake a grueling presidential campaign, they arrived at that decision too late for him to mount a credible bid for a job that has long been the north star of his political ambitions.

“Unfortunately, I believe we’re out of time,” said Biden, flanked by his wife, Jill, and the president.

Clinton v.s. Sanders

Biden’s decision puts to rest the uncertainty hanging over the Democratic primary. The race now will likely settle into a two-person contest between Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has energized the party’s liberal base.

Biden was seen by some Democrats as an ideal blend of Clinton’s establishment credentials and Sanders’ populist appeal. Interest in his potential candidacy was fueled both by an outpouring of affection after his son succumbed to cancer in May and the persistent questions about Clinton’s viability, particularly amid revelations about her controversial email use at the State Department.

In a written statement Wednesday, Clinton praised Biden’s “unyielding faith in America’s promise” and said she expected he would “always be on the front lines, always fighting for all of us.” The two spoke by phone shortly after the vice president concluded his remarks.

Biden notably did not endorse a candidate in the Democratic race. Instead, he delivered a 13-minute speech that very well could have been a platform for the campaign he’ll never run. He decried the role of big money in politics and touted the importance of reducing income inequality and making college education more accessible, issues with significant support among liberals.

He also repeated a veiled criticism of Clinton that had crept into his speeches in recent days, saying Democrats should not view Republicans as their enemies. Clinton said in the debate that she was proud to count the GOP among the enemies she’s made during her political career.

From the other side of the aisle, Trump praised Biden and took a poke at Clinton in a single tweet: “I think Joe Biden made correct decision for him & his family. Personally, I would rather run against Hillary because her record is so bad.”