United States Vice President (VP) Joe Biden has announced he will not run for presidency next year.
In a statement from the White House Rose Garden on Wednesday, Mr Biden said the grieving process for his son Beau, who died in May this year, had closed the window on mounting a realistic presidential campaign.
“Unfortunately, I believe we’re out of time – the time necessary to mount a winning campaign for the nomination,” he said. “But 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.”
Mr Biden defended President Barack Obama’s record, saying he had led this nation from crisis to recovery.
“This party, our nation will be making a tragic mistake if we walk away or attempt to undo the Obama legacy. The American people have worked too hard and we’ve come too far for that,” Mr Biden said. “Democrats should not only defend this record and protect this record, they should run on the record.”
“We’ve got a lot of work to get done over the next 15 months, and there’s a lot that the President will have to get done. But let me be clear that we’ll be building on a really solid foundation.”
The VP’s announcement put an end to months of speculation about a potential presidential bid, which had previously threatened the campaign of Democratic frontrunner and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton.
“It’s an easier path for Hillary Clinton now,” said Democratic strategist Bud Jackson. “Most polls reflect that without Biden in the race, it’s more beneficial to her.”
Mr Biden has yet to endorse either Ms Clinton or her main competitor, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, for the Democratic presidential nomination. His support could prove important, as he is popular with white working-class voters.
A series of primary elections and caucuses will take place in the first half of next year to determine both the Democratic and Republican candidates for the November 8 vote. President Barack Obama is ineligible to run, as the US Constitution prevents presidents from serving more than two terms. – Jake Nelson
Top photo of VP Joe Biden flanked by President Barack Obama, and wife Dr Jill Biden at the White House Rose Garden is from The White House’s Official YouTube channel.