He has almost been forgotten as a possible Democratic presidential candidate, but there is renewed speculation Vice President Joe Biden might actually challenge Hillary Clinton for the White House.
On Saturday, the liberal New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd reported the 72-year-old Democrat “has been having meetings at his Washington residence to explore the idea of taking on Hillary in Iowa and New Hampshire.”
“He gets along with Hillary and has always been respectful of the Democratic Party’s desire to make more history by putting the first woman in the Oval Office,” Dowd reported. “But going through the crucible of the loss of his oldest son, Beau, to brain cancer made the vice president consider the quest again.”
Biden’s son Beau, who died in May from brain cancer, reportedly told his father he wanted him to run again for president. (He ran unsuccessfully in 1988 and 2008).
“Beau was losing his nouns and the right side of his face was partially paralyzed,” Dowd wrote. “But he had a mission: He tried to make his father promise to run, arguing that the White House should not revert to the Clintons and that the country would be better off with Biden values.”
According to the L.A. Times, “A decision is expected in September; aides had eyed Labor Day as the optimal time but don’t rule out that it could stretch later… Soon the political calendar will force a decision, with one obvious point being potential Democratic candidate debates as early as October.”
Last week, Ed Henry of Fox News reported “aides close to Hillary Clinton are getting increasingly nervous that Vice President Joe Biden may throw his hat into the 2016 presidential race later this summer.”
Henry reported Biden’s Chief of Staff, Steve Ricchetti, was recently seen having breakfast with a major Democratic donor, suggesting the vice president’s team is making efforts to cultivate potential supporters.
For now, Biden is not saying anything in public about his thinking on a race.
“The Biden family is going through a difficult time right now,” Biden spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff told Fox News. “Any speculation about the views of the vice president or his family about his political future is premature and inappropriate.”
The speculation about Biden comes as the self-described Democratic socialist Bernie Sanders has been attracting large crowds from the hard left. Meanwhile, Clinton continues to face questions about her email practices and the Benghazi attacks while secretary of state.
According to the Real Clear Politics national polling average of Democratic primary voters, Clinton leads with 58 percent, followed by Sanders at 18.2 percent and Biden at 12 percent.