Waiting For Joe Biden

According to reports, Vice-President Biden may or may not be close to a decision about running for President, and he may or may not be running.


For two months now, the American political press has been falling all over itself trying to figure out what Vice-President Biden might do regarding getting into the race for the Democratic Presidential nomination. While there have certainly been signs that Biden has been laying the groundwork for what might become a Presidential bid, and using the media to do most of that work for him, there have also been signs that the Vice-President seems reluctant to put him and his family through the rigors of a campaign that would no doubt be an uphill battle notwithstanding the fact that he is Vice-President. Most notably, Biden has said in speeches and in an emotional appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert that a person who isn’t emotionally ready for a campaign should not get into the race, and many interpreted those comments as a sign that he was leaning against running. After the first Democratic Debate last week, in which Hillary Clinton performed strongly and appeared to give little argument in favor of a Biden run at this point in the race, conventional wisdom had shifted toward the idea that Biden would stay out of the race. Now, NBC News is reporting that Biden will supposedly make a decision within the next two days, and there are some signs that he may enter the race after all:

Vice President Joe Biden is nearing a decision on if he will enter the presidential race, which could come within 48 hours, two sources tells NBC News.

Biden has been contemplating a presidential run for months and has delayed an announcement beyond supposed timeframes multiple times before. Missing this deadline, of course, could happen again.

In addition to when, the big unknown is what Biden’s decision will be: Is he in our is he out?

Biden’s public schedule gives little indication of his decision. He traveled from his home in Delaware to Washington Monday morning where he will address a climate change summit this afternoon.

If Biden does announce within the next two days, his decision would come before current front runner, Hillary Clinton, appears before the House committee charged with investigating the Benghazi attacks more than three years ago.

This report comes on the heels of a report over the weekend that Biden had spoken to  International Association of Fire Fighters President Harold Schaitberger, an important union leader who has a lot of influence in Democratic politics, as well as other reports purporting to be indications that Biden was entering the race based on overheard comments from Biden aides and others who have formerly served as close advisers to the Vice-President during his campaigns as well as reports about Biden contacting former supporters in early primary states. Additionally, in the wake of the NBC News reports Fox News White House Correspondent Ed Henry reported that sources had told him that Biden was indeed getting in the race, but suggested that the 48 hour timetable should be taken with a grain of salt:

And Democratic Pennsylvania Congressman Brendan Boyle made the same report after reminding people that former President Bill Clinton had also entered the race in the October before the election year began:

At this point, whatever speculation you hear over the next 48 hours, or longer depending on whether or not that time period is an actual hard deadline, is just that, speculation, until we actually hear from Biden himself or there are real signs that he has taken any of the formal steps one needs to in order to run for President. So far, there hasn’t been any real indication that any of that work has been going on at all. Given the fact that at least half the political reporters in the country seem to be on Biden watch at this point, one would think that there would be at least someone who would have uncovered some of those moves. For example, there was plenty of evidence to show that Hillary Clinton was pulling together her Presidential campaign months before she formally entered the race, and the same is true of other candidates such as Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and others. If you’re running a credible campaign for President, you don’t just wake up one morning and decide you’re going to do it. There’s an entire infrastructure that has to be there for you from the start, and if it isn’t then the campaign is going to be getting off to a slow start. Given the fact that Biden would be getting into the race late, and yes it is late notwithstanding Congressman Boyle’s argument, it would seem to be even more essential that you have that infrastructure in place. While much of that can be done quietly behind the scenes, there would be at least some indications that an intrepid reporter would be able to spot, and I haven’t seen a single report that says this is happening. Given that, and given all the other arguments that have been raised against a Biden candidacy at this point in the race, the logical conclusion would be the Biden isn’t running.

In the end, though, this is as I said all about Joe Biden and what he wants to do. Until we hear from him, we won’t really know the answer no matter how many “sources” a reporter claims to have.

FILED UNDER: 2016 Election, Climate Change, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. michael reynolds says:

    He’d be a fool to get in. Within the Democratic Party it will look like a white male hail Mary to derail Hillary – when there’s less evidence than before that she needs derailing.

    The halo of sympathy Biden has now will evaporate. Hillary will hit him, Republicans will hit him, and he’ll manage to muff some debate or public statement and end up being an embarrassment. And then, Hillary will still win the nomination.

    Joe missed his moment.

  2. stonetools says:

    I think Biden is waiting until after the October 22 Benghazi hearing. If Hillary falters at the hearing, he may jump in to “rescue ” the Democrats. If, as seems now likely, Hillary crushes it, he will announce that he has decided to retire at the end of his term as Vice President.

  3. C. Clavin says:

    Don’t do it, Joe.

  4. Steve Evets says:

    According to reports, Vice-President Biden may or may not be close to a decision about running for President, and he may or may not be running.

    Yes, that pretty much covers it all.

  5. CSK says:

    This fan dance is getting a little silly. I realize it’s a big decision, but didn’t we read the exact same story last week? And the week before that? And the week before…

    But Joe, if you’re asking me, which you’re not, I think it’s a lousy idea.

  6. Neil Hudelson says:

    He waited too long, and the window is closed.

    Too bad. I think there’s a pretty big segment of voters who want a pragmatic Washington insider, but who hates HIlary’s Foreign Policy.

  7. Hal_10000 says:

    This is a Washington insider thing. No one outside of the media cares if Joe BIden is running or not.

  8. Todd says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    I think there’s a pretty big segment of voters who want a pragmatic Washington insider, but who hates HIlary’s Foreign Policy.

    Count me in that group. I’d be happy to see a continuation of most/all of the Obama administration’s policies. My main objection to Hillary Clinton (which most here don’t seem to agree with) is that I don’t think she can/will win the general election. Beyond that, even if she does get elected, I don’t trust her on foreign policy … too hawkish … she will get us into more wars.

    The same might happen under a President Biden, as you can’t really predict what other countries will do. But in those cases, just like with President Obama, I would trust Joe Biden even if I didn’t understand/agree with all of his decisions.

  9. CSK says:

    Chris Cillizza of the WaPo is predicting–as of a few hours ago–that Biden is going to get in on the basis of comments he made today distancing himself from Clinton and allying himself with Obama.