NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Updated: Wednesday, October 21, 2015, 12:51 PM
WASHINGTON — Vice President Biden announced he won’t run for President Wednesday.
“Unfortunately I believe we’re out of time, the time necessary to mount a winning campaign for the nomination,” Biden said from the White House Rose Garden, flanked by President Obama and his wife, Jill.
Biden had wrestled with whether to take a third shot at the presidency for months, with buzz building over the summer after reports that his son Beau, dying of brain cancer, begged him to run.
Speculation reached a crescendo in recent weeks as the other Democratic candidates went head to head in their first debate and as the first deadlines to get on ballots for the party’s primary season neared.
But front-runner Hillary Clinton has rebounded from a rough summer in recent weeks, and Biden admitted in his remarks the window “has closed” on him having a chance to win.
The Vice President used the buzz around a bid to repeatedly tweak Clinton in recent days, implicitly drawing contrasts with her over authenticity and bipartisan skills.
And even as he bowed out, he took a few parting shots, promising to “not be silent” in defending President Obama’s legacy.
“I don’t think we should look at Republicans as our enemy. They’re our opposition, they’re not our enemies,” he said, an implicit criticism of Clinton’s recent remarks that she was proud of having Republicans as her enemies.
And Biden promised to spend his last 15 months in office to fight cancer, which felled his son.
“I believe we need a moonshot in this country to cure cancer. It’s personal but I know we can do this,” he said. “I would have wanted to be the President who ended cancer.”
As recently as Oct. 6 Biden had been polling just behind surging underdog Bernie Sanders, leading many politicos to believe the veep could have a legitimate path to the nomination.
But in the weeks since, contradictory statements perpetually leaked from Biden surrogates, with some saying he was nearly certain he’ll run and others stating he would not.
Subsequently, his poll numbers dropped: The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, released Tuesday, showed the former secretary of state in the lead for the nomination with the support of 49% of registered Democratic primary voters nationwide, with Sanders trailing at 29%.
Biden got 15% in the poll, which also showed voters beginning to feel the nation’s No. 2 shouldn’t run at all. Only 30% of Democratic primary voters polled said they wanted to see Biden run for president in 2016, while 38% said they didn’t want him to run.
Still, even on Tuesday, Biden was keeping a full schedule suggesting he might still be considering a bid.
Sitting on a panel honoring former Vice President Walter Mondale, Biden rebuked Hillary Clinton’s account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, disputing claims he opposed it and suggesting the Democratic front-runner wasn’t as adamantly in favor as she claims.
His comments led some to believe he may testing out lines that take on Clinton.
But after Clinton’s strong performance in last week’s debate — which Biden didn’t participate in — political insiders, even those loudly rooting the veep on, began to admit his window was quickly closing.
“It certainly was an opportunity I personally wish he’d taken advantage of,” Jon Cooper, the national finance chairman of Draft Biden, a super PAC pushing him to run, told the Daily News last week.. “One thing that’s very clear in the wake of the debate is that Vice President Biden’s voice and his vision for our country’s future would be a welcome addition to this race.”
Biden ran unsuccessfully for President in 1988 and 2008.