Give the White House press corps some points for self-restraint: they waited until the third question of Monday's White House briefing to ask about Vice President Biden.

"I wanted to get a little substance in before asking you -- your guess is as good as anybody else's -- is the vice president running for president?" asked Julie Pace of the Associated Press.

"Many people do seem to be asking that question with particular urgency today," replied White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.

And quite a few of them were sitting in the press briefing room. Reporters proceeded to ask about Biden again. And again. And then some more. In the course of the hour-long briefing, Earnest was asked 16 times whether the vice president would mount a White House bid.

Here are the top half-dozen reporter strategies attempted to ferret out Biden information Monday, along with some of Earnest's most creative non-answers.

1) The indirect approach.

Pace: "May I just ask you what this kind of swirl of speculation and timelines and anonymous sources looks like inside the West Wing to you guys?"

Earnest: "It hasn't come up."

2) The "creative" approach.

ABC's Jonathan Karl: "So you've been part of a presidential campaign, you know what it's like to launch a presidential campaign, you know the vice president, you work in the same building as the vice president, you see him on most days, does he even look like a guy that's about to announce his..."

Earnest: "That is a creative way to ask that question." (He didn't offer up a creative non-answer.)

3) The hypothetical approach.

Reporter: "If you did have information would you tell us?"

Earnest: "If that would stop you from asking the questions then I might."

4) The emotionally aware approach.

Reporter: "Do you share some of the frustration that we've heard from other Democrats, including people like David Axelrod, that this decision process has gone on so long?"

Earnest: "I don't share that frustration."

5) The multi-pronged approach.

CBS's Major Garrett: "This is a probing question, but it's serious because on two issues... Iraq and any potential budget conversations that might go on. The vice president has played a vital role for this president.... Can this administration deal with those two issues if the vice president, on which it has relied in the past, is now a presidential candidate and unavailable?"

Earnest: "...I'm confident that he would make time as necessary for the responsibilities that he current has as vice president."

Garrett: "Do you know from the president that they've discussed this?"

Earnest: "I don't know any of the details of what the president and the vice president have discussed...."

Garrett: "Josh, would you say it's accurate to describe Vice President Biden as agonizing over this decision?"

Earnest: "He didn't look like he was in agony to me."

6) The timing-focused approach.

CBS Radio's Mark Knoller: "Are we more likely to get a decision first from Biden or on Keystone?"

(The question was followed by a weary laugh in the briefing room.)

Earnest: "That sounds like -- it sounds like a bingo game that's taking place back in the -- in the workspace back there, but maybe you can get me a card."