Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, announced that he was not joining the race for the Democratic nomination. Speaking in the Rose Garden he started off with a light joke, thanking President Obama for lending him the space and Obama commenting that it was a “pretty nice place”.
Biden’s announcement turned sombre quickly, as he recalled the passing of his son Beau Biden in the timeline of his decision making. Beau passed away in May 2015, after struggling with brain cancer intermittently for five years, and an active political, legal and military career. Joe Biden acknowledged that he and his family were aware that grieving completely and healthily might mean the appropriate time frame to approach a candidacy might have elapsed.
Biden stated he believed he was out of the time “necessary to mount a winning campaign for the nomination”, indicating he would have believed himself a strong candidate, but he promised that he would remain active and engaged in the party in order to continue President Obama’s legacy.
“I believe that President Obama has led this nation from crisis to recovery, and we’re now on the cusp of resurgence […] The American people have worked too hard, and we have come too far for that. Democrats should not only defend this record and protect this record. They should run on the record.”
Continuing his support for the middle class, Biden touched on the work that needs to be done in eliminating economic inequality, reducing the influence of the Super PACs, fair taxation and the accessibility and affordability of higher education. Mentioned too was child care provision as a vehicle to lead women into the work force in order to improve economic standards.
“I believe that we have to end the divisive partisan politics that is ripping this country apart. And I think we can. It’s mean spirited, it’s petty, and it’s gone on for much too long.”
Biden has not been noted previously for bipartisan partnership with Republicans from his time as Senator or Vice President, so his words may ring hollow, especially as the political climate has only grown more extreme over the years. Especially his support for progressive causes such as rights of the LGBT community, immigration reform, equal pay for women and protecting their safety from violence, as well as rooting out institutional racism will face staunch opposition judging by previous and current discourse.
Returning the opening lines of his announcement Biden also indicated he was working for more money to be invested into medical and other scientific research, specifically in aid of cancer research, and this would have been a key focus of his Presidency had he run and succeeded: “If I could be anything, I would have wanted to have been the president that ended cancer, because it’s possible.”
Biden also recalled his first electoral success, which branded him as an optimist. He wanted to imbue American politics with this optimism in reforming Washington in order to propel the United States to a world-leading position again. Biden’s closing remarks were followed by applause from attending journalists.