Biden’s ‘longtime friend’ says he’s open to 2016 bid ‘because Hillary might not run’

Vince Coglianese | Editorial Director

Vice President Joe Biden is widely believed to be gearing up for another run at the presidency in 2016. But standing in Biden’s way could be another familiar face: Hillary Clinton.

So could Biden decide to sit it out if Clinton enters the fray?

National Journal reported Monday that a “longtime friend” of the vice president thinks Biden and his family are “leaving all their options open”:

Biden’s friends and advisers caution that the effort is nascent and informal, that no ultimate decision has been made. The effort, however, is unmistakable. And signs of it range from Biden’s strategic guest-list compilation for inaugural-week festivities to plans for firmer control of the Democratic Party machinery. “They’re leaving all their options open,” says one longtime friend who spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to jeopardize the friendship. “They just want to make sure they’re very viable, because Hillary might not run.”

Defined in the strictest terms, “they” are Biden’s family, a group that doubles as his political brain trust. Biden has long relied on the counsel of his sister, Valerie Biden Owens, and has come to lean on his sons, Hunter and Beau. Biden advisers universally name-check the family before mentioning other key figures.

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