Delaware is reacting to Vice President Joe Biden’s announcement that he will pass on running for president in 2016.
Speaking from the White House Rose Garden, Biden said the time it has taken for his family to cope with the death of his son, former Attorney General Beau Biden, has not left enough time to mount a successful campaign.
Biden's announcement ended months of speculation about the 72-year-old vice president's plans. Biden has made two unsuccessful runs for president in the past.
“As my family and I have worked through the grieving process, I’ve said all along what I've said time and again to others, that it may very well be that that process, by the time we get through it, closes the window on mounting a realistic campaign for president, that it might close,” Biden said. “I've concluded it has closed.”
The vice president and former Delaware senator had spent months deliberating with his family and political advisers about a potential late entry to the Democratic primary.
However, people should not expect him to fade into the background, Biden said.
“But while I will not be a candidate, I will not be silent,” he said. “I intend to speak out clearly and forcefully, to influence as much as I can where we stand as a party and where we need to go as a nation.”
Gov. Jack Markell said he understands Biden’s choice.
“Joe Biden is beloved by many, not just in Delaware, but throughout the country and around the world,” Markell said in a statement. “He connects to people on a personal level, has dedicated his life to supporting the middle class, and has provided tremendous leadership in promoting U.S. interests around the world -- all of which would have made him a formidable candidate.
“This was a deeply personal decision and I respect the choice he has made.”
Sen. Chris Coons, who succeeded Biden in the U.S. Senate, said he respects and understands Biden’s decision.
“As always in his career, Joe Biden is putting his family first, and I am confident he will continue to add his important voice to our nation's ongoing debate about security in an uncertain world and opportunity for the middle class.
“I support his decision and look forward to continuing to work together.”
Biden’s former Senate colleague, Sen. Tom Carper, called the vice president’s choice “an extremely difficult decision.”
“I’ve known Joe for many years as we worked together to serve the people of Delaware and our country, and I know he has everything it takes to make a great president,” Carper said. “He and his family have decided this is not the right time, and it’s my sincere hope that they are at peace with his decision.”
Carper said he encouraged Biden to listen to his family when making his decision and that he knew many people were urging him to run.
The senator added he knows Biden will continue to make his presence felt.
“There are still 15 months left in the Obama administration, and a full time vice president will go a long way toward getting important things done for the American people,” Carper said. “When his time in the White House concludes, Joe will certainly have the opportunity to serve as our ambassador to the world, and I know he’ll continue making a positive difference in all our lives.
“I also know Beau’s memory and spirit will help him do it.”
Rep. John C. Carney Jr. said he’s admired Biden and his accomplishments for more than three decades.
“On a personal level, I’m disappointed that he’s decided not to run -- he would’ve made an excellent president,” Carney said. “But I understand his decision, and in some ways, it makes me respect him even more.
“What we heard from Joe today was a continuation of his longstanding commitment to fighting for the middle class and opportunity for all Americans. I know he means it when he says he has no plan to give up that fight, and I'm glad to hear it -- the country will be better off for it.
“I’m committed to supporting Joe and his family in this important work.”
Delaware Republican Party Chairman Charlie Copeland issued a response within minutes of Biden’s announcement.
“Voters can now turn their attention to Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and the other Democrat candidates for president who represent the extreme in liberal progressive politics, and who leave little to no room in the Democratic Party for anybody with moderate mainstream views,” Copeland said.
“As the sitting vice president it’s clear to Joe Biden that ‘waiting for Hillary Clinton to stumble' is not the narrative he needed to be taken seriously as a candidate. The vice president understands that today is his final day in the political sun before all eyes turn to Hillary Clinton.”
Biden's decision appears to bolster Hillary Rodham Clinton's standing in the Democratic primary by sparing her a challenge from the popular vice president.
The Democratic field also shrank Tuesday with the announcement by former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb that he was ending his campaign for the White House.