Joe Biden Aides Discussing Possible 2016 Run With Democratic Leaders, Report Says

The dying wish of Vice-President Joe Biden’s son was reportedly that his father run for the White House in 2016, against Hillary Clinton.

Beau Biden, the attorney general of Delaware and a US military veteran who served in Iraq, died in May of brain cancer at the age of 46. The New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wrote that after he found out he was not going to live, Beau Biden tried to make his father promise to enter the race for the Democratic nomination.

“Beau was losing his nouns and the right side of his face was partially paralysed,” Dowd wrote. “But he had a mission: he tried to make his father promise to run, arguing that the White House should not revert to the Clintons and that the country would be better off with Biden values.”

Dowd also wrote that Biden’s other son, Hunter, “also pushed his father, telling him, ‘Dad, it’s who you are’”.

Quoting “several people who have spoken to Mr Biden or his closest advisers”,the Times subsequently reported: “Mr Biden’s advisers have started to reach out to Democratic leaders and donors who have not yet committed to Mrs Clinton or who have grown concerned about what they see as her increasingly visible vulnerabilities as a candidate.”

Biden, a long-term US senator from Delaware, ran for president in 1988 and 2008. In the 2008 primaries he trailed Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Clinton went on to serve as Obama’s first secretary of state and is now the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination in 2016.

Clinton has come under sustained criticism from Republicans over her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, as well as the September 2012 attack on a US diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya.

A third Biden run has long been rumoured, and the vice-president scores highly in polls concerning the Democratic field despite not having declared his candidacy.

Clinton’s opponents are led by the independent Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, the only candidate to score even relatively close to her in the polls. The former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, former Virginia senator and Reagan administration navy secretary Jim Webb and former Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee have also declared their candidacies.

While Biden has done little to lay the groundwork for a presidential campaign, he has maintained a loyal network of political advisers and has gone out of his way to stay in contact with longtime supporters in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Dowd wrote that though Biden “gets along with Hillary and has always been respectful of the Democratic Party’s desire to make more history by putting the first woman in the Oval Office”, the vice-president “has been having meetings at his Washington residence to explore the idea of taking on Hillary” in the early voting states.

At Beau Biden’s funeral in Wilmington, Delaware, in June, President Obama delivered a tearful eulogy. The president and vice-president embraced, after Obama said he considered himself and his family to have become honorary members of “the Biden clan”.

Reports of a tense relationship between the Obamas and Hillary Clinton and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, have persisted throughout the Obama presidency.

“The No 1 thing voters want is a candidate who is honest and trustworthy, and the veep is leading in those polls,” the Times quoted William Pierce, executive director of the Draft Biden Super Pac, as saying.

In concluding her column, meanwhile, Dowdwrote: “When Beau was dying, the family got rubber bracelets in blue – his favorite color – that said ‘WWBD’, What Would Beau Do, honouring the fact that Beau was a stickler for doing the right thing.

“Joe Biden knows what Beau wants. Now he just has to decide if it’s who he is.”


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