Obama’s VP Joe Biden rules out run for President
US Vice President Joe Biden has confirmed that he is running for President in 2016.
The Democrat, who has served as Barack Obama’s VP for 7 years, ended months of speculation by ruling out a run today, opting not to join a Democratic field dominated by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and left-wing Senator Bernie Sanders.
Vice President Biden was tipped to declare his candidacy earlier this year, but plans were stalled when his son Beau Biden passed away.
After months of speculation during which time he missed the first Democratic debate and missed chances to win major donors, Biden confirmed on Wednesday that the “window has closed” on a bid.
Speaking in the White House Rose Garden, the politician said: “As the 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.
“I’ve concluded it has closed… Unfortunately, I believe we’re out of time, the time necessary to mount a winning campaign for the nomination.”
However, he added: “While I will not be a candidate, I will not be silent. I intend to speak out clearly and forcefully, to influence as much as I can where we stand as a party and where we need to go as a nation.”
The Vice President said: “We intend – the whole family, not just me – we intend to spend the next 15 months fighting for what we’ve always cared about, what my family’s always cared about with every ounce of our being, and working alongside the president and members of Congress and our future nominee.
“I am absolutely certain that we fully are capable of accomplishing extraordinary things. We can do this.
A long-time supporter of LGBT rights, the VP has won acclaim during his time in the White House for his willingness to champion equality issues – sometimes stepping on the toes of the President to do so.
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He famously forced the President’s hand on same-sex marriage in May 2012, by backing it while the President was still officially ‘evolving’ on the issue.
A book last year claimed that “chaos erupted inside the West Wing” after news of Biden’s comments – and within days Obama had also come out in favour of same-sex marriage.
Lightning struck again when the VP backed an executive order banning anti-LGBT workplace discrimination last year, when the President had already rebuffed calls for executive action.
Mr Biden got his way on that occasion as well, with Obama reversing his position again and signing an order just two months later.
Speaking out about the incidents this summer – Biden said he “didn’t have a problem” getting in front of Obama.
The Westboro Baptist Chuch picketed Beau Biden’s funeral in June, lambasting Joe Biden’s unwavering support for LGBT equality.