With President Obama and Jill Biden at his side, Vice President Joe Biden announced at the White House moments ago that he won’t be running for president in 2016.
“Mr. President, thank you for lending me the Rose Garden for a minute,” Biden quipped at the hastily called announcement.
The veep got to the point quickly, noting that in the family’s grieving process over the loss of his son Beau to cancer they realized that by the time they got through the window could close “on mounting a realistic campaign for president.”
“I’ve concluded it has closed,” Biden said.
But, he stressed, “the family has reached that point” where they would have been ready to go through a presidential campaign.
Biden said they had been hoping to reach the point where thoughts of Beau “brings a smile to the lips rather than a tear to the eye,” and “that’s where the Bidens are today, thank God.”
Still, he concluded that leaves him “out of time” to run for commander in chief.
Then Biden launched into what could have been a campaign stump speech.
“While I will not be a candidate I will not be silent,” he vowed, adding that he wants to speak out on “where we stand as a party and where we need to go as a nation.”
America is “now on the cusp of resurgence,” he said, and he’s “proud to have played a part in that.”
And Biden stressed that those running for president on the Democratic ticket shouldn’t fear running on Obama’s policies. “They should run on the record,” he said. “…It is about the middle class. It’s a matter of social stability for this nation — we cannot maintain the current level of inequality in this country.”
Biden channeled even more Bernie Sanders in his his speech, calling money pouring into campaigns a “fundamental threat to this democracy,” stressing that “we have to level the playing field for the American people,” and driving home his belief that “we need to commit to 16 years of free public education for our children.”
“Children and childcare is the one biggest barrier for working families,” he said, promoting Obama’s policies to allow more women to be in the workforce and “raise our economic standing.”
Biden said the pay-for should be “limiting the deductions in the tax code to 28 percent of income.”
He also took stabs at foreign policy and reasons that are “not good enough” for American intervention. “We have to accept the fact that we can’t solve the world’s problems,” he said.
And there was yet another jab at Hillary Clinton’s debate statement that she’s most proud of having Republicans as enemies. “I don’t believe like some do that it’s naive to talk to Republicans,” Biden said. “They’re our opposition; they’re not our enemies.”
The vice president also called for “an absolute national commitment to end cancer as we know it today.”
“If I can be anything, I would have wanted to be the president that ended cancer, because it’s possible,” he said.
Citing LGBT rights, immigration, domestic violence, and “rooting out institutional racism,” Biden said the root of those and other problems is the same: “It’s about equality. It’s about fairness. It’s about respect … the ugly forces of hate and division, they won’t let up — but they do not represent the American people.”
The next president, he said, “is going to have to take it on.”
“I am more optimistic about the incredible possibilities to leap forward than any time in my career,” Biden continued, adding there will not be success “until every parent can look at their kids in tough times and say ‘honey, it’s going to be OK’ and mean it.”
“I am absolutely certain we are absolutely capable of accomplishing anything,” he said. “America won’t just win the future, we will own the finish line.”