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As Biden begins road trip, the presidency in 2016 seems far away

Vice President Biden will be the focus of national attention Friday night when he addresses Democrats in South Carolina. Chris Cillizza believes Biden has already begun preparing for a run at the presidency. If he does, winning the primary could be difficult, writes Phillip Rucker:

For Biden, who, his family and advisers say, is weighing whether to run in 2016, several paradoxes are at work. He is beloved by grass-roots Democrats, but mainly as the avuncular No. 2 to Barack Obama. From the South Carolina Lowcountry to the Iowa heartland, there are no signs — none yet, at least — of a “Draft Joe” movement. “There just isn’t,” said Sue Dvorsky, a former head of the Iowa Democratic Party.

Biden clearly has the experience and gravitas to ascend to the presidency, but many Democrats say he may have been in Washington too long (since 1973) to win an election. He is President Obama’s governing partner yet is rarely seen as Obama’s heir apparent. For that mantle, and for the nomination, he is likely to face stiff competition in the form of Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former secretary of state and, according to most everyone, the 2016 front-runner. (Read the full profile of the vice president here.)

Other national political figures, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Tex.) will also be in South Carolina this weekend, as Ed O’Keefe explains:

Why are Biden and Cruz both in Columbia on the same night? Because of state law.

Washington Post photojournalist Melina Mara talks about her behind the scenes photos of Vice President Biden. Mara received unprecedented access to the vice president as he rode in his limousine and met privately with advocates, politicians and civil rights leaders. (Jason Aldag/The Washington Post)

South Carolina requires the two political parties to hold their annual conventions each year in May to elect new officers and take care of housekeeping tasks. Those formal meetings are planned for Saturday.

After the convention in South Carolina, Biden reportedly plans to travel around the country campaigning for stricter gun-control measures, writes Jamelle Bouie:

In particular, he will travel to the home states of Senators Kelly Ayotte, Max Baucus, Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowsi, each of whom has seen a precipitous drop in their approval rating since voting against background checks. Baucus is retiring next year, and Ayotte and Murkowski aren’t up for reelection until 2016. But Begich is running next year, and might be vulnerable to immediate pressure. Even Ayotte has something to worry about — she will run for a second term during a presidential election, where Democratic voters are energized and more numerous. At some point, she will have to appeal to non-Republicans.

And that will mean distancing herself from a National Rifle Association that has walked further and further into the waters of extremism. (Read the rest of the article here.)

Max Ehrenfreund writes for Wonkblog and compiles Wonkbook, a daily policy newsletter. You can subscribe here. Before joining The Washington Post, Ehrenfreund wrote for the Washington Monthly and The Sacramento Bee.


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