Democracy in Action
2008 campaign

Ruled out 2016 presidential
campaign on Oct. 21, 2015
OVP-The White House

Draft Joe Biden
draftbiden  |  @draftbiden

site launched Mar. 17, 2015

Conventional Wisdom

- Forty-plus years in public service, and the knowledge of government and individuals gained during that time.
- Schmoozer par excellence.
- Speaking ability; repertoire of stories and ability to move an audience.
- Age; would be oldest president ever inaugurated: 74 years 2 months on Inauguration Day (by contrast Reagan was just short of 74 at his second Inauguration).
- Undisciplined and tends to talk over-long and say things he should not; gaffe prone.
- Lack of private sector experience.

- Questionable as to how much grassroots support there is for a Biden candidacy.  His 2007-08 campaign fizzled in Iowa.  Doesn't have an active draft movement like Hillary Clinton.

Notes, Coverage and Speeches

May 26, 2014 - Ride 2 Recovery  event.
June 23, 2014 - White House Summit on Working Families.
July 16, 2014 - Make Progress National Summit.
Jan. 20, 2014 - National Action Network's Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast.. Feb. 27, 2014 - Addressing the ASDC at the DNC Winter Meeting. April 28, 2014 - Speech on the budget and economic policy.

2015 - Early in the year Vice President Biden kept his name in the mix with visits to the key primary states, making stops in Des Moines, IA on Feb. 12 and Charleston and Columbia, SC on Feb. 18, and Manchester and Concord, NH on Feb. 25.  In March a Draft Biden 2016 committee launched; according to its press release (+), "The group is urging the Vice President to enter the 2016 race and will be building campaign infrastructure for his hoped entry."  By early May the group reported that its online petition had garnered close to 30,000 signatures, and on May 6, Draft Biden announced endorsements of several Iowa elected officials (+).  The death of Biden's son Beau at age 46 from brain cancer on May 30 generated an outpouring of sympathy for the Biden family.  The Wall Street Journal reported on June 28 that before he died, Beau Biden had urged the Vice President to run and Biden's other son Hunter has as well.  On June 29 Real Clear Politics posted an article headlined "Efforts to Draft Biden for 2016 Gain Steam." 

Speculation picked up in July and August.  Draft Biden added more staff and its petition topped 200,000 signatures.  A flurry of articles such as "Joe Biden strategy for White House run taking shape" (Politico, Aug. 14) and "Source: Team Biden leaning towards 2016 bid" (CNN, Aug. 24) and "Possible Biden run puts Obama fundraising network on high alert" (The Washington Post, Aug. 26) have appeared.  Biden's Sept. 10 appearance on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert (Colbert's third show as host) was watched closely for clues on his thinking.  The two discussed Beau Biden for a bit and Biden grew quite emotional but nothing solid emerged.  Stories touting a likely Biden continued to appear.  Politico reported, "Joe Biden insiders see a campaign taking shape (Sept. 11)
.  CNN had an extra podium at the ready for Biden at the first presidential debate in Las Vegas on Oct. 13 in the event that he decided to get in.  In an Oct. 20 story headlined "Joe Biden gauging politics, staffing for 2016 run" CNN reported that, "Vice President Joe Biden's associates are setting up interviews for potential staff positions on a Biden presidential campaign, citing a "source familiar with the process"

More than three months of speculation came to an end on Oct. 21, when Biden, speaking the the Rose Garden where he was flanked by President Obama and his wife Jill, ruled out a run.  "Unfortunately, I believe we're out of time -- the time necessary to mount a winning campaign for the nomination," Biden stated.  "But while I will not be a candidate, I will not be silent," Biden continued.  "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 (+)."

Biden was the administration's point person on one of the most difficult foreign policy situations it has faced, the turmoil and Russian intervention in Ukraine.  In January and February he made a series of phone calls to then Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych seeking to curtail violence and encourage compromise.  In addition to meetings and calls with leaders from the region, in mid-March he travelled to Poland and Lithuania to reassure NATO allies, on April 21-22 he travelled to Kyiv, Ukraine for meetings with officials and civil society leaders, and he led the delegation to attend the inauguration of Ukrainian President-elect Petro Poroshenko on June 7.

Biden also kept his eye on the political realm: in July he spoke at Netroots Nation 2014 and at Generation Progress' national summit.

In his memoir Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, excerpts of which circulated in early January, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates dinged Vice President Biden sharply; Gates wrote that Biden had been "wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades."  The White House responded with a statement from National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden that said in part, "The President disagrees with Secretary Gates’ assessment – from his leadership on the Balkans in the Senate, to his efforts to end the war in Iraq, Joe Biden has been one of the leading statesmen of his time, and has helped advance America’s leadership in the world.  President Obama relies on his good counsel every day." 

2013 - Following the Dec. 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, President Obama appointed Vice President Biden to head up a Gun Violence Prevention Task Force.  In Jan. 2013 Obama announced 23 executive actions to address the issue (1, 2); however Congress did not take action, disappointing gun control advocates.  At the beginning of Dec. 2013, Biden made the highest profile trip of his vice presidency, visiting Tokyo, Beijing and Seoul.  Biden's most noted political activity was his appearance as a featured guest at Sen. Tom Harkin’s 36th annual Steak Fry in Indianola, IA on Sept. 15, 2013.  Biden has not established a leadership PAC, and there is scant evidence of grassroots support for a presidential campaign.

Jules Witcover.  Oct. 5, 2010.  JOE BIDEN: A Life of Trial and Redemption.  New York: William Morrow.
"Distinguished political columnist and veteran Washington correspondent Jules Witcover brings us an honest, meticulously researched, and up-to-date biography of one of America’s boldest vice presidents: Joe Biden. A fascinating portrait of an outspoken man of courage and strength who rose up from working class roots and has persevered over numerous personal and professional setbacks."

Joe Biden.  July 31, 2007.  PROMISES TO KEEP: On Life and Politics.  New York: Random House.
"With his customary candor, Biden movingly recounts growing up in a staunchly Catholic multigenerational household in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and Wilmington, Delaware; overcoming a demoralizing stutter; marriage, fatherhood, and the tragic death of his wife Neilia and infant daughter Naomi; remarriage and re-forming a family with his second wife, Jill; success and failure in the Senate and on the campaign trail; two life-threatening aneurysms; his relations with fellow lawmakers on both sides of the aisle; and his leadership of powerful Senate committees."

Early Articles
Evan Osnos.  "The Biden Agenda."  
The New Yorker.  July 28, 2014.
Glenn Thrush.  "The Happy Warrior's Last Ride."  Politico Magazine.  March/April 2014.

Jeanne Marie Laskas.  "Have You Heard the One About President Joe Biden?"  GQ.  July 2013.
Douglas Brinkley.  "Joe Biden: The Rolling Stone Interview."  Rolling Stone.  May 9, 2013.

Examples of Communications by the Independent Draft Biden 2016
Digital Ads
TV ad: "Never Quit" (:90 ad run on CNN during the first Democratic debate on Oct. 13, 2015).

  this page last revised October 21, 2015