Vice President Joe Biden declared in a hastily called press conference in the White House Rose Garden Wednesday afternoon that he would not seek the Democratic nomination for president in 2016. President Obama and Biden’s wife, Jill, stood beside him as made the emotional announcement.
“As my family and I have worked through the grieving process, I’ve said all along — and 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,” Biden said. “I’ve concluded it has closed.”
Speculation over whether Biden would challenge former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the party’s nomination began in earnest in early August, when the New York Times reported that Biden’s son Beau asked his father to promise he would run for president shortly before he succumbed to brain cancer this spring.
Biden referenced his grief over Beau, and its impact on his decision, in his remarks. “I know from previous experience that there is no timetable for this process. The process doesn’t respect or much care about things like filing deadlines or debates and primaries and caucuses.”
Biden’s sister Valerie, his chief of staff Steve Ricchetti and former chief of staff Sen. Ted Kaufman were seated in the audience, alongside White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice.
Draft Biden, the political action committee that has fundraised to support a Biden bid released a statement thanking donors for their support: “While the Vice President has decided not to run, we know that over the next year he will stand up for all Americans and articulate a vision for America’s future that will leave no one behind.”