US Vice President Joe Biden.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON – US Vice President Joe Biden will pass on running for the presidency in 2016, he announced on Wednesday from the Rose Garden of the White House.
The vice president announced his decision, with US President Barack Obama standing by his side, after a months-long deliberation following the death of his son, Beau. Over the course of the grieving process, he said, the window for a realistic Biden candidacy ultimately closed.
Biden was facing filing deadlines in mere weeks to get his name on the ballot on key states.
“While I will not be a candidate, I will not be silent,” Biden said. He has repeatedly criticized his once competitor, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, for calling Republicans her enemies. “I intend to speak out clearly and forcefully to influence as much as I can where we stand as a party and where we need to go as a nation.”
Biden outlined what might have been his rationale for a candidacy: an extension of the Obama legacy, with a focus on social justice and economic equality. He also said the country needs a “moonshot” in health: a cure for cancer, which he said is achievable.
“If I could be anything, I’d want to be the president that ended cancer,” he said.
Beau, his son, died of brain cancer on May 30.
“We,” he said of the Biden family, “found purpose in public life.” Biden said he would devote himself to the work of the vice presidency for his remaining 15 months in office.
“We can do so much more,” he said. “We can do extraordinary things.”
Biden ran for president in 1988 and 2008, both times dropping out early in the race.
Reuters contributed to this report.