Vice President Joe Biden spoke candidly about whether he has “the emotional fuel” to mount a 2016 presidential run in a call with members of the DNC that was supposed to focus on the Iran nuclear deal.
The vice president, who is still in mourning over the death of his eldest son Beau Biden, has been the source of mounting speculation amid the perception that Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton’s campaign is faltering and that her closest competitor, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, may be un-electable.
According to reports, before he died, Beau Biden asked his father to run.
“If I were to … run, I [would] have to be able to commit to all of you that I would be able to give it my whole heart and my whole soul, and right now, both are pretty well banged up, and we’re trying to figure out that issue,” Biden said on the call.
“I’ve given this a lot of thought and dealing internally in the family about how to do this,” he added.
The organization Draft Biden – with which Biden has no formal affiliation – has gained steam in recent weeks with a number of high-profile hires, and Biden has reportedly sought the council of President Barack Obama and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren about the prospect of entering the race. Biden previously mounted failed presidential bids in 1988 and 2008.
“As Democratic Party leaders and super delegates gather for the Democratic National Committee summer meeting in Minneapolis, it’s important to remind ourselves of how conventional wisdom and early polling leaders in past primaries have fallen short,” read a memo penned by the group, which was obtained by msnbc. “With such a large percentage of undecided voters and historical precedent tilting in his favor, there is no better moment for Vice President Biden to enter the race.”
The vice president would face tough odds because he would have to make up a substantial fundraising gap and establish a campaign infrastructure in key early primary states where Sanders and Clinton have already been entrenched for months.
Biden has promised to make a decision about running by the end of this summer. Both Sanders and Clinton have been sanguine about the possibility of a challenge from the vice president.
“I’ve known Joe Biden for many years—we served in the Senate together for six years—and you’re not going to find a guy who’s more decent that Joe Biden is,” Sanders told reporters in New Hampshire on Monday. “What I promised Joe if he decides to get into the race is that I will as I have done up to now run an issue oriented campaign. Joe’s views I suspect and I know on a number of issues are different than mine.”
On Wednesday, Hillary Clinton said, “Vice President Biden is a friend of mine—he and I were colleagues in the Senate, I worked with him as first lady, I worked with him in President Obama’s first term, and I have a great deal of admiration and respect for him.”
“I think he has to make what is a very difficult decision for himself and his family, and he should have the space and opportunity to decide what he wants to do,” she added.
Clinton still holds a commanding lead in most national polls, although the race appears much tighter in the early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire.