Joe Biden spoke with a major labor leader Friday, in a phone call in which the vice president said he is strongly considering running for president, a source familiar with the conversation told NBC News.
Biden spoke with International Association of Fire Fighters President Harold Schaitberger for about 20 minutes, the source said. Biden said he was strongly considering running and was trying to gauge the support of unions, the source said.
Biden and Schaitberger discussed strategy, infrastructure and fundraising, another source familiar with the call said.
Schaitberger was left with the impression that Biden likely would run, and that the vice president is confident he can raise the funds needed for a campaign, the second source said.
Biden has not yet announced a decision, fueling speculation that he could make a run and shake up the Democratic field. Biden is reportedly close to a decision.
The IAFF is one of the most influential labor unions in the country. The union says it represents more than 300,000 full-time firefighters and paramedics.
The IAFF nearly endorsed Biden in the 2008 presidential race, but the membership felt they had to back Chris Dodd because of Dodd’s work in the Senate on a landmark firefighters grant program.
The IAFF has not yet made an endorsement. The union believes it would likely have the support among members to endorse Biden should he get into the race, the second source added.
President Barack Obama declined to weigh in on a potential Biden run Friday, saying, “He’ll have to figure out if it makes sense for him.”