WASHINGTON – US Vice President Joe Biden says he has not made up his mind yet on whether he will run for the top job in 2016 — a prospect that could entail a clash with Hillary Clinton.
Biden told CNN that neither he nor the outgoing secretary of state had yet made a decision, but said whoever carried the Democratic banner would benefit from a successful second term for President Barack Obama.
“There’s a whole lot of reasons why I wouldn’t run. I haven’t made that decision and I don’t have to make that decision for a while,” Biden said in the interview.
Asked whether he was ready for a White House race rematch with Clinton, against whom he campaigned unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination in 2008, Biden demurred.
“I haven’t made that judgment and Hillary hasn’t made that judgment,” Biden told CNN.
“Everything that should be done over the next two years that I should be part of would have to be done whether I run or I don’t run.
“If this administration is successful, whoever is running has a better position to run. If we are not successful, whoever runs as a nominee is going to be less likely to win.”
Biden stoked speculation about his intentions for 2016 over the weekend of celebrations marking Obama’s second inauguration, meeting key players from states with early nominating contests including Iowa and New Hampshire.
He has also emerged as a key political player in the administration, giving the lie to conventional wisdom that the job of vice president is more a curse than a blessing.
Obama assigned him the job of managing the US withdrawal from Iraq, he is the main channel to Republicans on Capitol Hill on budget issues, and he drew up a list of recommendations designed to cut down on gun violence.
The vice president, who is 70, would be the oldest US president sworn into office if he won the 2016 election, so some observers believe his age may disqualify him from a campaign or detract from his chances.
However, Biden, who does not drink, is in good shape and made a point of breaking into a run during his walk down the inaugural parade route after Obama’s swearing in on Monday, in an apparent show of sprightliness.