Vice President Joe Biden announced Wednesday he will not be a candidate for president in 2016, sparing Democrats from a shake-up in the race for the White House and removing a potential stumbling block for Hillary Clinton.
The vice president’s decision comes after a long, and very public, struggle with whether or not to make a third run for the White House. Overcome with grief after the death of his eldest son, Beau, in May from brain cancer, at many times Biden seemed far from ready for the rigors of the campaign trail.
It was that mourning period that he referenced in a Wednesday afternoon Rose Garden press conference, flanked by his wife, Jill, and President Obama.
“As my family and I have worked through the grieving process, I’ve said all along and what I’ve said to others, is that it may very well be that that process, by the time we get through it, closes the window in mounting a realistinc campaing for presidenti
Throughout the summer and into the fall, Biden was repeatedly pressured to run and a superPAC supporting his bid started to gain traction. The drum beat for his entrance only grew as worries over Clinton, the once-solid frontrunner in the race, began to mount over questions about her private email server and concerns about her trustworthiness.
But for Biden, the timing was not right, despite evidence showing he would have been competitive even with a late entrance into the race. The vice president has the highest favorably ratings of any candidate, and his frank and earnest demeanor combined with his blue-collar appeal would have made him an attractive candidate.
With his decision to pass, the race is now set with Clinton and Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders emerging as the top-tier in the Democratic primary. Clinton may still be facing questions about scandals involving her private email server and trying to show voters she is trustworthy, but now it’s Sanders who is the chief rival to the once-solid frontrunner.