To run or not to run: Did Joe Biden just hint at a decision for 2016?
The vice president has been reluctant to make any definitive statements on his 2016 plans, but supporters are urging him to consider seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.
Will Joe Biden finally launch a presidential run?
No one knows, including, it appears, the vice president himself.
Though filing deadlines are approaching, Mr. Biden said in an interview with Catholic organization America Media that was released Monday that he cannot rush the decision.
"We're just not – it's not quite there yet and it may not get there in time to make it feasible to be able to run and succeed because there are certain windows that will close," he said. "But if that's it, that's it. But it's not like I could rush it."
That's the latest glimpse Biden has offered voters into his thought process as he weighs another presidential run – which would be his third shot at the White House since 1988 – at a time when he and his family continue to cope with the death of Biden's son Beau, who died in May.
In order to make a decision to run, Biden has maintained that he needs to be "comfortable that this will be good for the family."
"I've known almost every person that's run for president since I've been 29 years old and it all gets down to personal considerations, because you have no right as an individual to decide to run," Biden told America Media. "Your whole family is implicated. Your whole family is engaged. So for us it's a family decision."
Political watchers have been parsing Biden's comments, travels, and meetings, to gain clues about his 2016 decision, which has the potential to rearrange the race for the Democratic nomination. A Biden run may serve to cast doubt about Hillary Clinton's viability, and could siphon votes from both Mrs. Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Pundits have interpreted some of Biden's recent comments as suggesting he is leaning away from running, including a recent appearance on the "Late Show," in which host Stephen Colbert asked Biden if he was emotionally prepared for a campaign.
"I don't think any man or woman should run for president unless, number one, 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 responded.
"And, 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 percent of who they are."
Logistically speaking, Biden is far behind. He has no fundraising account to pay for travel and staff, and Clinton, his (potential) rival has already nabbed endorsements from elected officials in more than half the party, according to NBC News.
And time is running out.
His originally-stated "end of summer" deadline has come and gone. If he were to run, the best time to declare may have been during the summer, when Clinton's campaign was being bombarded by negative headlines about her use of a private email account. Now that Clinton appears to be recovering, it's politically less expedient for Biden to make an announcement.
If Biden decides to enter the fray, he should announce by Oct. 1 in order to join the first Democratic debate on Oct. 13. Last resort would be Nov. 5, the day before the first Democratic primary filing deadline in Alabama.
That said, there's plenty to suggest a presidential run is still in the cards for Biden.
According to Bloomberg, he met with political advisers last Monday in Washington, D.C., about a possible run for the Oval Office.
Their conversation, according to The Wall Street Journal, wasn't about whether to run, but when to announce, and whether an earlier announcement would assure the vice president a spot in the first Democratic debate.
They even discussed a possible campaign message: After inheriting an economic recession, President Barack Obama turned the country around, and Biden would continue on that same path.
And while Biden may not yet have a fundraising account, on Friday, a letter was circulated signed by nearly 50 prominent party fundraisers and potential donors pledging their support for Biden.
"To finish the job, America needs a leader who is respected both home and abroad, and who understands the real challenges facing American families," the letter states. "In our opinion, the next president must be Joe Biden. If he announces he's running, we're all in. It's a campaign we know he will win."
Perhaps the most persuasive point, for Biden, if not for his fans: His late son Beau reportedly urged Biden to seek the presidency.