Is Biden Already Preparing for 2016 Presidential Run?

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 21 2013 11:02 AM

Is Vice President Joe Biden Getting Ready for a 2016 Presidential Run?

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Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Green Inaugural Ball on Sunday

Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images

President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were sworn into their second terms Sunday, but Washington watchers saw a few telling signs that the No. 2 was anxious for a promotion in four years. The gaffe-prone Biden didn’t help tamp down speculation, and, in fact, may have actually made more people focus on his possible next steps. On Saturday night he told the Iowa State Society Inauguration Ball he was “proud to be president of the United States.” The audience laughed and he corrected himself: “I’m proud to be vice president of the United States. And I am prouder to be President Barack Obama’s vice president!” (Watch video of the gaffe after the jump.)

Biden misspeaking is hardly news, of course. But the fact that he was at the ball in the first place, showing support for the state with the first presidential nominating contest, could actually mean something. As could Biden's guest list for his swearing-in ceremony Sunday, notes the Wall Street Journal’s Peter Nicholas, who reads every possible or imagined tea leaf. Two key officials from two very important primary states were at the Naval Observatory Sunday: New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan and South Carolina’s Democratic Party chairman, Dick Harpootlian. Plus, his selection of Justice Sonia Sotomayor to lead his swearing-in could also mean something if you consider the importance of the Latino vote.

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Biden can plan all he wants but for now, all eyes continue to be on outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Even though polls show Biden would be a popular candidate among Democrats with 66 percent saying they could support his candidacy, that is still almost 20 percentage points behind the 85 percent who say they could support Clinton, reports CNN.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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