This post has been updated.
Vice President Joe Biden will not run for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, he announced Wednesday at a press conference held on short notice in the Rose Garden. Said Biden: “As my family and I have worked through the grieving process, I've said all along what I've said time and again to others, that it may very well be that that process by the time we get through it closes the window on mounting a realistic campaign for president, that it might close. I've concluded it has closed.” Biden's son Beau died of brain cancer in May.
Rumors that Biden was on the verge of running have been widespread in Washington in recent days; on the other hand, many observers have said that Hillary Clinton's well-reviewed debate performance (since which she has widened her lead over Bernie Sanders and Biden in the polls) made a challenge to her candidacy less likely to succeed. Today, the VP said that although he believed his family is now prepared emotionally for the experience of a campaign, the time has passed at which such a campaign could be launched. Transcript via the Washington Post:
I know from previous experience that there's no timetable for this process. The process doesn't respect or much care about things like filing deadlines or debates and primaries and caucuses.
But I also know that I could do this if—I couldn't do this if the family wasn't ready. The good news is the family has reached that point. But as I've said many times, my family has suffered loss, and—and I, I hope there would come a time, and I've said this to many other families, that sooner rather than later, when you think of your loved one, it brings a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eyes.
Well, that's where the Bidens are today. Thank god. Beau—Beau is our inspiration.
Unfortunately, I believe we're out of time, the time necessary to mount a winning campaign for the nomination.
Biden went on to discuss a number of issues he hoped would be addressed during the campaign, from the cost of college to wealth inequality to the polarization of political discourse, and he referred to his son's death in calling for “a moon shot in this country to cure cancer.” Here's his full speech:
Said Biden: “Thank you for all being so gracious to Jill and me, for the last six or eight months, and for our whole career for that matter. But I am telling you, we can do so much more.”