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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

October 8: Speak For Yourself, Mr. Vice President

Perhaps it was overshadowed by the growing chaos in the House Republican Conference, but this has been a week also marred by back-and-forth media wars between journalists claiming inside knowledge that Vice President Joe Biden did or didn’t personally promote the “story” that his late son made a deathbed request that he run for president. This caps months of mostly unsourced media speculation on the subject, much of it expanded on by Republicans and conservative media always happy to push a “Democrats-in-disarray” narrative.
I finally made an exasperated plea at the Washington Monthly:

[I]t’s time for the vice president to publicly say “Yes,” “No” or “Maybe” to a presidential run instead of letting this bizarre speculation continue perpetually. “Maybe’s” fine with me; I’d personally be fine with him admitting he’s offering himself as a fallback option if something terrible happens to the field. But sorta kinda running for president via media hints that are turned into attacks on Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and the Democratic Party itself should no longer be an option. I have no direct evidence on the question of whether or not Biden is personally fanning the speculation, but have no doubt he’s the one person who can resolve it.

Greg Sargent of the Washington Post echoed this sentiment today:

It was right and good that Democrats gave Biden plenty of space to make his decision. But at this point, every additional day that goes by makes his own viability that much less realistic. He’d have to ramp up a campaign organization and raise a huge amount of money in a ridiculously short amount of time. At what point do we get to say that a Biden candidacy is no longer plausible?
If Biden wants to tell us that he’s prepared to enter the race down the line, but only if it really looks like Sanders is going to win the nomination, that’s fine — at that point, all bets would be off anyway. We just need him to say something more concrete.

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