Vice president Joe Biden said he was unsure if he will seek the Democratic presidential nomination, telling a Jewish audience that his decision will hinge on whether he and his family have the “emotional energy to run”.
“Unless I can go to my party and the American people and say that I am able to devote my whole heart and my whole soul to this endeavour, it would not be appropriate,” Biden said, responding to a question following a foreign policy address.
Biden offered his most extensive public remarks regarding his deliberations about entering a Democratic primary race that includes front-runner Hillary Clinton, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders and others. His entry would shake up the campaign at a time when some Democrats would like to see more options.
Clinton has locked up much of the Democratic establishment and few expected Biden to enter the race.
But the former secretary of state’s recent slide in primary polls and questions surrounding her use of a private email account and server while at the State Department have prompted the vice president to explore a campaign to succeed his running mate, President Barack Obama.
Capping a day that saw Biden defend Obama’s work to forge a nuclear agreement with Iran, the vice president made clear family came first.
“The most relevant factor in my decision is whether my family and I have the emotional energy to run.
Everybody talks about a lot of other factors, other people in the race, whether I can raise the money, whether I can put together an organisation. That’s not the factor,” Biden said. “The factor is, ‘Can I do it? Can my family undertake what is an arduous commitment?
“That we would be proud to undertake in ordinary circumstances and the honest to god answer is, I just don’t know.”
Biden, who unsuccessfully sought the White House in 1988 and 2008 said he did not know if he would mount a campaign — a move that would come months after the death of his 46-year-old son, Beau Biden.
He said based on his previous experiences, there was “no way to put a timetable on it.” But he added, “If I can reach that conclusion and we can do it in a fashion that would still make it viable, I would not hesitate to do it.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved