By Paul Kane,
Vice President Biden announced Wednesday afternoon he had decided against entering the Democratic contest for the 2016 presidential nomination, ending months of speculation that he might roil the Democratic race.
“I have concluded that it has closed,” he said of the window to launch another White House bid, speaking in a hastily called Rose Garden appearance with President Obama and his wife Jill by his side.
“Beau is our inspiration,” the vice president said of his son who died earlier this year of brain cancer. “Unfortunately, I believe we are out of time. The time necessary to mount a campaign for the nomination.”
Biden pledged that he will remain involved in the presidential race and encouraged Democrats to run on Obama’s record. Biden proudly described himself as “middle class Joe” and described income inequality in America as “a fundamental threat to our democracy.”
[Full text: Biden’s announcement that he won’t run for president]
Biden spent the weekend with his family in Delaware, a final, critical gut-check moment to decide whether to launch a late-breaking entry into the Democratic race.
Despite a growing public show of support, Biden had repeatedly said in appearances over the past five weeks that he and his family had not reached the emotional standing that would make possible the daunting challenge of mounting a competitive White House bid.
In a letter to current and former staff late Thursday, before the decision was made, Biden’s longest serving adviser reiterated that the family pain remained a central block against launching a national campaign.
“All of you know well that the first and foremost consideration will be the welfare and support of his family. That’s Joe Biden. He has been clear about this and it is as true today as it has been for the past several months. He is determined to take, and to give his family, as much time as possible to work this through,” Ted Kaufman, Biden’s former chief of staff who once filled his Senate seat, wrote to the vice president’s alumni network.
On the eve of Pope Francis’s historic visit to Washington late last month, Biden said he was “not quite there yet” and was not sure that his family would ever …Read More

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