Joe Biden on his decision not to run in 2016: ‘I just don’t think there’s time’

Joe Biden on his decision not to run in 2016: ‘I just don’t think there’s time’

US vice-president describes moment he reached his conclusion in 60 Minutes interview alongside his wife Jill, who he says agreed with him

Vice-President Joe Biden has discussed his decision not to run for the White House in 2016, which he announced at Rose Garden press conference this week.

Biden toyed with entering the race for the Democratic nomination for some time, with the process widely reported to be affected heavily – both ways – by the death of his son Beau in May.

His Rose Garden speech, delivered with his wife, Jill, and Barack Obama by his side, contained a forceful defence of the Obama White House record and seemed to many observers to have been adapted from an announcement that he would run on that record, as he advised the three remaining Democratic candidates to do.

In an excerpt of an interview scheduled to be broadcast on CBS’s 60 Minutes on Sunday night, Biden, 72, appeared with his wife, casually dressed and warmly lit while sitting on a couch. He discussed the moment he made his final decision.

He said: “I came home and Hunter, our son, was upstairs with mom, with Jill. And I walked in and I said ‘You know, I just don’t think there’s time. I’ve decided I just don’t think there’s time to run the kind of campaign we have to run to be able to win.

“And I remember Jill just got up off the couch, gave me a big hug and said: ‘I think you’re right.’”

Asked if she was disappointed or relieved, Jill Biden said: “I think I was disappointed. I mean, I thought Joe would be a great president, and you know, in the 40 years we’ve been together, I’ve seen the strength of his character and his optimism, his hope.”

Smiling and interjecting, Joe Biden said: “I’m glad we’re doing this interview. I like to hear Jill say all that stuff.”

Jill Biden concluded: “I believed he would’ve been the best president.”

Biden has run two presidential campaigns: in 1988, when he dropped out of the race after being accused of plagiarising a speech by the British Labour leader Neil Kinnock, and in 2008, when he was well beaten in the primary by Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Clinton is seen to be the 2016 candidate likely to benefit most from Biden’s absence. She leads the Vermont senator Bernie Sanders in national polls, with former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley in a distant third. Clinton’s polling numbers are stronger without Biden, another establishment figure, in the contest.

This week, former Virginia senator and Reagan navy secretary Jim Webb and former Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee dropped out of the Democratic race.

This article titled “Joe Biden on his decision not to run in 2016: ‘I just don’t think there’s time'” was written by Martin Pengelly in New York, for theguardian.com on Sunday 25th October 2015 18.09 UTC