Speculation was rife for months on whether Vice President Joe Biden would run for Democratic presidential nod. Finally, on Wednesday afternoon, Biden announced that he won’t be running after all.
Now a staffer close to the vice president has revealed that Biden’s statement that he had run “out of” the “time necessary to mount a winning campaign for the nomination” was a shock to many members of his closest staff. Many of them had made a mad dash to the White House Rose Garden to see him deliver the remarks. It came as a total surprise.
But Wednesday morning was a normal day for Biden’s policy team. There were rumors of Biden talking to friends, family and donors about jumping in. He was huddled with a small group of advisers. There was even talk that Biden was waiting for Hillary Clinton’s testimony before the House Benghazi committee on Thursday.
Even last Wednesday, many of his staffers were discussing where and when the vice president might make the announcement. The communications staffs of Biden were busy doing extensive research ahead of each of his planned speeches.
Biden himself gave no clear indication. One day he would frame his discussions of policy and initiatives by making it seem he had no intention of entering the presidential race. At other times he would start his conversations by asking staff how they might frame things “if I’d run”. Everyone was kept guessing.
On Wednesday morning, many of his staff members thought he won’t make an announcement before the weekend. It could be around the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner on Saturday, they believed. Others thought he might make a statement in his hometown of Wilmington, Del.
But suddenly, out of the blue, Biden’s secretary made an announcement. He would be speaking in the Rose Garden shortly after noon. His staff members just had a 15-minute warning. They ran over to hear him speak. That was when Biden’s team officially learned the vice president would not enter the fray. No one had any prior knowledge.