There’s been a surge in speculation about whether Vice President Joe Biden may jump into the Democratic presidential race.
All sorts of new signs are being cited. A key fundraiser for Democrats in the U.S. Senate and for Biden’s late son, Beau, has joined the “Draft Biden” movement. Published reports indicate Beau Biden, just before his death from brain cancer this summer, urged his father to run.
The Radio Iowa audio archives yield a few signals from Joe Biden himself. Even as he dropped out of the 1988 race after admitting he used a British politician’s lines in a campaign debate, Biden hinted he’d be back.
“There’ll be other opportunities for me to campaign for president,” Biden said in September of 1987.
And Biden has kept in touch with scores of Iowans since that first run for the White House 28 years ago. During the 2000 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, Biden walked into a room of Iowa convention delegates.
“I brought my campaign manager from many years ago — my sister, Valerie, and my son, Beau Biden,” Biden said and the crowd applauded the entrance of the entourage.
Biden then singled out people in the crowd by name, reminiscing about his frequent visits to Iowa.
“One of the things I think you Iowans underestimate is we come out and we work like hell to get to know you and we work like hell to get your support and whether we win or lose, the truth of the matter is we leave a piece of our heart with you,” Biden said.
Biden got another round of laughter and applause when he told that crowd of Iowa Democrats: “You are intoxicating.”
Moments later, Biden laughed as he talked with Radio Iowa about his White House aspirations.
“Did you whet your appetite in there? Do you want to (run) again?” Biden was asked.
“No, no,” Biden replied in 2000. “I want to make sure I don’t have to think about that for six years.”
Now, it’s nearly 16 years later, seven years after his second campaign for the White House and Biden is almost halfway through his second term as the country’s vice president. This is how he described himself during a speech in Iowa two years ago: “You notice, even to this day, even though I’m the old guy in the White House…they talk about me as the White House optimist.”
A man in the crowd at the 2013 Harkin Steak Fry yelled back: “Good for you.”
Today, Biden joked with a Wall Street Journal reporter that he would only run in 2016 if that reporter were his running mate. Then Biden slipped out of the room as President Obama began speaking with the media. The final word on a third “Biden for President” campaign is expected in September.