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Biden Announces He Is Not Running For President

The vice president announced his decision at the White House Wednesday afternoon.

Vice Pres­id­ent Joe Biden will not run for pres­id­ent in 2016, he an­nounced at the White House Wed­nes­day, put­ting an end to weeks and months of spec­u­la­tion about wheth­er he would enter and re­shape the race for the Demo­crat­ic nom­in­a­tion.

“As my fam­ily and I have worked through the griev­ing pro­cess, I’ve said all along what I’ve said time and again to oth­ers: that it may very well be that that pro­cess, by the time we get through it, closes the win­dow on mount­ing a real­ist­ic cam­paign for pres­id­ent,” Biden said, ref­er­en­cing the death of his son Beau earli­er this year. “I’ve con­cluded it has closed.”

The hast­ily gathered press con­fer­ence—the White House Press Of­fice an­nounced it 10 minutes in ad­vance—was the first time Biden gave a defin­it­ive state­ment about his pres­id­en­tial am­bi­tions.

Still, Biden said he plans to be a vo­cal part of the 2016 cam­paign and urged his fel­low Demo­crats to run on Pres­id­ent Obama’s re­cord—a warn­ing to Hil­lary Clin­ton, Bernie Sanders and oth­er Demo­crats who have op­posed ma­jor as­pects of the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s agenda in re­cent weeks.

“While I will not be a can­did­ate, I will not be si­lent,” he said. “I in­tend to speak out clearly and force­fully to in­flu­ence where we stand as a party and where we need to go as a na­tion.”

Throughout the year, Biden had main­tained that he was con­sid­er­ing a pres­id­en­tial bid, but it wasn’t un­til the sum­mer when the spec­u­la­tion truly heated up. The Wall Street Journ­al re­por­ted in Ju­ly that his son, Beau Biden, urged his fath­er to run for pres­id­ent be­fore his death earli­er this year. Then, an Au­gust column in the New York Times sug­ges­ted Biden was act­ively in­ter­ested in the race.

Biden made re­peated ref­er­ence to his son’s death, and his fam­ily’s griev­ing pro­cess, in his Wed­nes­day speech.

“I know from pre­vi­ous ex­per­i­ence that there is no timetable for this pro­cess: the pro­cess doesn’t re­spect or much care about things like fil­ing dead­lines or de­bates and primar­ies and caucuses,” he said. “The good news is the fam­ily has reached that point—as I’ve said many times my fam­ily has suffered a loss and I hope there would come a time that, soon­er rather than later, that when you think of your loved one it brings a smile to your lips be­fore it brings a tear to your eyes. That’s where the Bidens are today, thank god. Beau was our in­spir­a­tion.”

Re­ports that Biden had been call­ing op­er­at­ives and act­iv­ists in the four early vot­ing states—and that his al­lies were chart­ing a path for him to chal­lenge Hil­lary Clin­ton for the Demo­crat­ic nom­in­a­tion—fur­ther in­creased spec­u­la­tion that Biden could jump in­to the race at any point.

But those ac­tions came along­side mixed mes­sages from the vice pres­id­ent, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to dis­cern his in­ten­tions. His timeline for a de­cision, ini­tially set for the end of the sum­mer, kept get­ting pushed fur­ther and fur­ther back. And by the time of last week’s first Demo­crat­ic de­bate in Las Ve­gas, a tail­or-made launch­pad for a cam­paign, Biden had still said noth­ing.

(Image via Drop of Light / Shutterstock.com )