During a midday appearance at the White House, Vice President Joe Biden finally put to rest the question that he will not be a candidate for president in 2016. The decision clears the way for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to win the Democratic nominee with just Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the way as the far-left option.
With his wife Jill at his left and President Barack Obama on his right, Biden announced the decision, citing that the window to mount a successful campaign has closed.
“This process has no respect for filing deadlines and debates and caucuses,” Biden said. “I also know that I couldn’t do this if the family wasn’t ready. The good news is the family has reached that point.”
Citing his son Beau Biden, who succumbed to cancer earlier this year, as inspiration the vice president said that his family has traveled through the grieving process and was ready. Unfortunately, he said, the change in the White House next year will not involve him as a candidate, though it could still involve him.
“But while I will not be a candidate, I will not be silent. I intend to speak out clearly and forcefully,” Biden said.
Biden’s decision comes just a week after the Democratic candidates debated for the first time with many analysts saying Clinton sparked a resurgence while social media followers thought Sanders was the clear winner. With Biden out of the race, Clinton will now only have to focus on the self-proclaimed democratic socialist, with the most recent polls showing her with more than 20 points over Sanders.
Clinton’s opponents are now down to three; Sanders, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chaffee.