The vice president made the comment in a joking manner. But the mere mention of 2016 again raised questions: Is Joe going to give it another go?
This election is President Obama’s last. But the end of one campaign always marks the beginning of another, and Biden, who has twice run for the top job, could be a central figure in the next presidential election.
The vice president has been unclear about whether this is his final campaign. Soon after Biden voted near his Delaware home Tuesday morning, a reporter asked whether this day would mark the last time he would cast a ballot for himself. Biden grinned and responded, “No, I don’t think so.”
Later the same day, as Biden shook hands and took photos with voters at an Ohio restaurant, a woman wanted to know, “After Obama wins this election are you going to run?”
Biden said, “Oh, I’m going to go back home and run for county council or something.”
All joking aside, Biden’s friends and advisers say he has been squarely focused on winning another four years for the Obama-Biden ticket. Any decisions about a future run are likely to be made in the coming months after a meeting of Biden’s inner circle, said Ted Kaufman, a close friend who served as Biden’s chief of staff for 19 years and succeeded Biden in the Senate.
“We’re just glad this campaign is ending,” said another Biden senior adviser this week. “That’s a topic for another day.”
The vice president, who in recent days has seemed to relish teasing about his political intentions, did more than 130 events for the ticket.
In the past four years, he has been a major player in the Obama White House, carving out a role that onlookers liken to an assistant president. He was the administration’s point person on winding down the war in Iraq, a leading figure in White House negotiations with Congress on deficit reduction and largely responsible for implementing the stimulus, personally calling local officials to cut through red tape.
But his “honest Joe” persona has created a dueling narrative of verbal gaffes and slip-ups. He took some ribbing for publicly declaring his support for same-sex marriage this summer, stepping on Obama’s plan to make his own announcement.
Behind campaign podiums, Biden’s off-the-cuff remarks were sometimes a distraction in the 2012 race, feeding “that view of him as not a serious person,” said Jules Witcover, a journalist and author of “Joe Biden: A Life of Trial and Redemption.” At a campaign stop in Virginia, for example, Biden warned a racially diverse crowd that his opponent’s approach to regulating the financial industry will “put y’all back in chains.” During his debate with GOP vice presidential contender Paul Ryan, Biden laughed often and rebutted Ryan’s statements on Libya as “a bunch of malarkey.”