With US Vice-President Joe Biden going through a third presidential poll and promoting the White House’s agenda, he is sending mixed signals on how close he is to becoming a candidate.
Interpreting his interviews and speeches yield clarity about his ambitions. The Vice-President has swung from campaign-style rallies marked by chants of ‘Run, Joe, Run’ to introspection casting doubt on his readiness for a race.
His aides and advisers say this is another sign that Biden is undecided about a run and not leaning one way or the other. His self-declared deadline may come and go this week without an announcement.
Biden himself admitted that a timeline to decide is unrealistic considering the grief he and his family continue to feel following the death of Beau Biden this summer.
Biden’s acknowledgment of the fast-approaching deadlines on the Democratic primary calendar reflect what strategists have been saying for weeks: Biden doesn’t have forever if he hopes to challenge Hillary Clinton for his party’s nomination.
But even as he hedges publicly about making a decision, Biden has road-tested his message at an official White House events—sending a different signal than his quieter moments might suggest.
Biden hasn’t shied away from crowds cheering his name. His stops in states such as Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida have fuelled assumptions he’s closer to jumping into the race.
Biden has also slammed Republicans running for president—including Donald Trump, who he assailed by name as offering a “sick message” on immigration.
Days earlier in Pittsburgh, he tore into issues such as income inequality and union-busting, proclaiming himself ‘hot,’ ‘mad,’ and ‘angry’ that the economic recovery seen over the past seven years.
“You gotta talk to my wife about that,” he quipped. Once thought to be a hold-out, Dr Jill Biden signaled support for a potential run in a statement from her office over the weekend.
“Of course Dr. Biden would be on board if she Jose Biden decides to run for president but they haven’t decided yet,” made that decision yet,” said her spokesperson James Gleeson.
Later, when news emerged that Biden met with top Democratic donor Robert Wolf they were cheered two weeks ago. A letter from dozens of major Democratic donors encouraged Biden to enter the race had a similar effect.
Sources inside Biden’s orbit insist those maneuvers imply due diligence should he decide to run. “This weekend offered more signs of momentum as Biden considers entering the race for the presidency,” Draft Biden wrote in a memo to reporters on 20 September.