United States vice-president Joe Biden announced his decision not to run for the White House in 2016, ending months of speculation starting around the time of the death of his elder son.
“Unfortunately, I believe we’re out of time,” Biden said in remarks from the White House Rose Garden on Wednesday, flanked by his boss, President Barack Obama, and his wife, Jill Biden.
But, he added, “while I will not be a candidate, I will not be silent.” Biden, who is immensely liked on both sides of the political divide, is known for speaking his mind.
Significantly, Biden did not endorse the democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton or any of the other three in the race (the fifth, Jim Webb dropped out on Tuesday).
Biden has run for the White House twice before, but never made it past the primaries. He had a chance, his supporters insisted, in 2016 because of Clinton’s troubled campaign until a week ago.
The former secretary of state then turned in a super performance at the party’s first presidential debate last Tuesday, practically shutting the door for a Biden run.
Speculation about the vice president entering the race started around the time of his son’s death, which, according to The New York Times, was his son Beau’s dying wish.
As the vice-president’s aides reached out to party strategists, activists and donors, the rumour mill pciked up steam and with Clinton’s campaign floundering, Biden’s chances looked good.
Clinton’s number plummeted under the weight of the persisting controversy over her use of a private email server as secretary state and party leaders and donors began to get jittery.
But, political pundits and observers said, Biden waited too long to decide. CNN, which hosted the first Democratic debate, kept an extra podium ready just in case he decided to enter the fray at the last minute.
He didn’t, chasing to spend the night hosting a school reunion. Clinton grabbed the chance, turning in a brilliant performance that impressed even her most strident critics.