Biden meets with Democrats, stoking 2016 chatter

Associated Press
FILE - In this Jan. 21, 2013, photo, Vice President Joe Biden reacts with his wife, Jill, as they walk down Pennsylvania Avenue en route to the White House, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, in Washington, during the Inaugural Parade during the 57th Presidential Inauguration parade after the ceremonial swearing-in of President Barack Obama. Biden in 2016? The inauguration is barely over but the vice president already is dropping plenty of hints that he might have another political act. Biden packed his schedule with events and receptions attended by party stalwarts throughout the long weekend of inauguration festivities, stoking speculation he may be laying the groundwork to carry the torch from Obama.  (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
.

View photo

FILE - In this Jan. 21, 2013, photo, Vice President Joe Biden reacts with his wife, Jill, as they walk down Pennsylvania Avenue en route to the White House, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, in Washington, during the Inaugural Parade during the 57th Presidential Inauguration parade after the ceremonial swearing-in of President Barack Obama. Biden in 2016? The inauguration is barely over but the vice president already is dropping plenty of hints that he might have another political act. Biden packed his schedule with events and receptions attended by party stalwarts throughout the long weekend of inauguration festivities, stoking speculation he may be laying the groundwork to carry the torch from Obama. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Joe Biden in 2016? The inauguration is barely over but the vice president already is dropping plenty of hints that he might have another political act.

Biden packed his schedule with events and receptions attended by party stalwarts throughout the long weekend of inauguration festivities, stoking speculation he may be laying the groundwork to carry the torch from President Barack Obama. It comes after Biden played a prominent role in brokering a compromise on the fiscal cliff standoff with Congress and his work developing gun violence legislation following December's deadly school shooting in Connecticut.

The next presidential campaign is a long way off and the Democratic primary chase will be dotted with plenty of "ifs," most notably whether outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton decides to seek the nomination. Clinton, the former New York senator and first lady, remains the heavy favorite among party activists but several notable Democrats, including Biden, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, are said to be keeping their options open in case Clinton decides not to run again.

As vice president, Biden can stay in the spotlight and is no stranger to the demands of a presidential campaign after failed bids in 1988 and 2008. The former Delaware senator has racked up a long list of domestic and foreign policy achievements even as his occasional off-script moments have become fodder for Republicans.

"There's a whole lot of reasons why I wouldn't run," Biden, who will be nearly 74 on Election Day in 2016, told CNN in an interview before the inauguration. "I don't have to make that decision for a while. In the meantime, there's one thing I know I have to do, no matter what I do. I have to help this president move this country to the next stage."

Yet with his high-profile perch, Biden is doing nothing to tamp down the speculation.

Biden's private swearing-in ceremony on Sunday was attended by recently elected New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, someone who would be a potent ally in the state's first-in-the-nation primary. Attendees at a Sunday afternoon reception at the vice president's residence at the Naval Observatory said they noticed a lot of party activists from early voting states like New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina.

"We can always start the political calculations in terms of the number of delegates needed to secure a nomination. But let's just say I see a number of superdelegates here as well," Democratic strategist Donna Brazile told reporters following the ceremony.

Biden later dropped by the Iowa State Society Inaugural Ball, slipping up and telling partygoers he was "proud to be president of the United States," prompting cheers. He quickly corrected himself, saying he was "proud to be vice president of the United States, but I am prouder to be ... President Barack Obama's vice president." Laughing it off, he said, "There's goes that."

During the weekend, Biden attended a ball at the Kennedy Center celebrating the party's Latino voters, who turned into a powerful voting bloc in November's election. Biden called the Latino community "a decisive factor" in the election. "This is your moment," Biden said. "America owes you." Some party stalwarts said it was noteworthy that Biden asked Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina justice, to administer the oath of office.

Biden also attended a ball honoring environmentalists, sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation and other environmental groups, where he said the Obama administration was committed to confronting climate change. "I don't intend to let these four years go by without getting a hell of a lot done," on the environment, Biden said.

On Inauguration Day, Biden and his wife, Jill, walked part of the parade route, waving to the cheering crowds in a made-for-TV moment. At one point, the vice president even jogged across Pennsylvania Avenue to shake hands with "Today" show weatherman Al Roker.

"It seems obvious that he's going to keep that option open for himself and do the right things," said Mike Gronstal, the Democratic leader of the Iowa state Senate who attended the reception. Gronstal said Biden actively worked the room, thanking supporters for their help during the 2012 campaign. "It was very personal time," he said.

On Tuesday afternoon, Biden met with members of the Democratic National Committee at a private reception after a DNC meeting, where delegates unanimously re-elected Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz to another term as chairman. A frequently played campaign theme song, REO Speedwagon's "Roll with the Changes," could be heard from outside the room and attendees said Biden thanked them for their work during the campaign and offered an upbeat assessment of the second term.

If Clinton decides not to run, Biden could draw upon good will from party activists, an ability to connect with regular folks and extensive campaigning in key states like Iowa, New Hampshire, Florida and Ohio. But he would also need to deal with personal poll numbers that rank below Obama's and a propensity to commit foot-in-mouth moments in an era where political gaffes can quickly sink a campaign.

New Hampshire state Sen. Martha Fuller Clark, who was among the attendees at Biden's Sunday reception, said it was "early to read into" Biden's interest in 2016. But he said there was "huge support" in the key primary state.

"He's deeply admired and loved in New Hampshire," Clark said. "Clearly Joe Biden occupies a key place in our hearts."

___

Associated Press writers Josh Lederman, Matthew Daly and Brett Zongker contributed to this report.

___

Follow Ken Thomas at: http://twitter.com/AP_Ken_Thomas

View Comments

Recommended for You

  • Ohio couple married 70 years die 15 hours apart

    NASHPORT, Ohio (AP) — A couple who held hands at breakfast every morning even after 70 years of marriage have died 15 hours apart.

    Associated Press
  • Special Report: How the U.S. made its Putin problem worse

    By David Rohde and Arshad Mohammed WASHINGTON AND NEW YORK (Reuters) - In September 2001, as the U.S. reeled from the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Vladimir Putin supported Washington's imminent invasion of Afghanistan in ways that would have been inconceivable…

    Reuters
  • Don't Miss Out! See the Best Credit Cards of 2014

    What card offers up to 5% cash back? And which one offers 24/7 concierge service? See the best credit cards of 2014. Apply online, quickly & securely.

    AdChoices Credit KarmaSponsored
  • Autopsy to ID dead boy; body cast off side of road

    WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — All Massachusetts authorities could say for sure is that they found the lifeless body of a small boy, apparently cast off the side of a highway.

    Associated Press
  • Baby Prince George visits Australian zoo

    Baby Prince George stepped out in public with his parents on Sunday for the first time in Australia, for an encounter with wildlife at Sydney's Taronga Zoo. George, eight months old and third in line to the throne after grandfather Princes Charles and father William, stole the show as his parents…

    AFP
  • 5 Unanswered Questions About Jesus

    As Christians worldwide gather for Easter to celebrate their belief in the death and rebirth of Jesus, researchers continue to delve into the mysteries that surround the man. The following are five questions about Jesus that, for now, at least, remain unanswered. In 2008, astronomer Dave Reneke…

    LiveScience.com
  • View

    Missing Malaysia Airlines jet (12 photos)

    The search for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet entered a new stage Friday when navy ships deployed stingray-shaped sound locators in a remote stretch of the Indian Ocean, in an increasingly urgent hunt for the plane's data recorders before their beacons fall silent. Officials leading the…

    Reuters
  • Hopkins becomes oldest to unify world titles

    Bernard Hopkins, the oldest world champion in boxing history at age 49, became the eldest fighter to unify world titles Saturday when he defeated Beibut Shumenov in a light-heavyweight showdown. Two judges gave ageless wonder Hopkins a split-decision victory by the same score, 116-111, while the…

    AFP
  • Russia 'outraged' as east Ukraine shootout shatters Easter truce

    Slavyansk (Ukraine) (AFP) - A deadly gunfight in a town in restive east Ukraine on Sunday shattered a fragile Easter truce, with Russia declaring it was "outraged" at the return to violence in the crisis-hit former Soviet republic. Locals, it said, had found the attackers' cars containing weapons,…

    AFP
  • Upgrade Your Home with Quality Laminate Flooring

    Get quality laminate flooring starting at $0.49/ sq ft. Browse our wide selection today!

    AdChoices BuildDirect®Sponsored
  • Wie's win snaps LPGA title drought

    Kapolei (United States) (AFP) - American Michelle Wie won her first LPGA title since 2010, firing five-under par 67 for a two-shot victory in the Lotte Championship. Wie had six birdies, and not even a three-putt bogey at the final hole at her home course, Ko Olina, could dim her joy at her third…

    AFP
  • Baby Can’t Open Mouth in Medical Mystery

    Parents Start Website To Find Out What's Wrong With Baby Wyatt

    Good Morning America
  • Autopsies done on 7 Utah babies found in garage

    PLEASANT GROVE, Utah (AP) — The Utah State Medical Examiner's Office has completed autopsies of seven infants found in cardboard boxes in a woman's garage, but it is unclear when the results will be released.

    Associated Press
  • New Zealand says yes to Nigella despite US exclusion

    New Zealand officials have granted a special visa to celebrity chef Nigella Lawson, who has admitted cocaine use, in an apparent confirmation she has been blocked from entering the United States, according to a report. US authorities declined to specify why Lawson was stopped from flying from…

    AFP
  • Miley Cyrus Remains Hospitalized, Two More Shows Canceled

    Nashville and Louisville mark two more concert stops Miley Cyrus will miss due to her hospitalization — and she’s sick of it. “sick of waking up to needles,” Cyrus tweeted early Friday (April 18) morning. “#goingthruit #floydfriday” The former Disney Channel star has been hospitalized...

    ABC News
  • The Cheerleader Murders

    For five long and very strange years, death haunted tiny Dryden, NY, a town near the Finger Lakes where a plague of car accidents, suicides, and even grisly murders involving two popular cheerleaders just kept mounting up.

    The Daily Beast
  • 10 Coolest Cars Under $25,000

    Style doesn't need to be expensive. We have the definitive list of the 10 coolest cars that will keep you wondering how they are less than $25,000.

    AdChoices Kelley Blue BookSponsored
  • View

    Earthquake shakes Mexican capital (17 photos)

    A powerful magnitude-7.2 earthquake shook central and southern Mexico on Friday, sending panicked people into the streets, where broken windows and debris fell, but there were no early reports of major damage or casualties. The U.S. Geological Survey said it was centered northwest of the Pacific…

    Reuters
  • Philippines' oldest artworks in danger of disappearing

    Binangonan (Philippines) (AFP) - On a small rock wall a short drive from the Philippine capital, enigmatic carvings that are believed to date back 5,000 years are in danger of disappearing before their mysteries can be solved. The 127 engravings of people, animals and geometric shapes are the…

    AFP
  • What the GOP Talks About When It Talks About Obamacare Now

    During a live debate with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Friday, Nevada's Republican Sen. Dean Heller was asked which part of Obamacare he would repeal now that the law has enrolled 8 million people. "No one talks about tort reform," he said on News 3's What's Your Point? A pet health care…

    The Atlantic Wire
  • Fox executive fired over Flight 370 charity email

    NEW YORK (AP) — A veteran Fox executive who used her company email account to plan aid for loved ones of the missing Malaysian airplane's passengers has been fired.

    Associated Press
  • Kansas speech by Michelle Obama draws complaints

    TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — If expanding the guest list to include Michelle Obama at graduation for high school students in the Kansas capital city means fewer seats for friends and family, some students and their parents would prefer the first lady not attend.

    Associated Press
  • SARS-Like MERS Virus Spreads Among Health Care Workers

    Deadly Virus Has Killed 93 People Worldwide

    Good Morning America
  • Forbes™ School of Business at Ashford University

    Relevant courses and one-on-one attention in fields ranging from Accounting to Supply Chain Management. Start your degree online today.

    AdChoices Ashford UniversitySponsored