Amid all the pomp and circumstance of inauguration weekend, Vice President Joe Biden showed a few of his 2016 cards as he mingled with some constituencies that would be key if he decides to run for president.
On Saturday, Biden attended the State Society of Iowa “First in the Nation Celebration” where he slipped up and referred to himself as the president instead of as the V.P.
“I’m proud to be president of the United States, but I am prouder to be…” Biden said as the crowd started to laugh and cheer. “I’m proud to be vice president of the United States but I am prouder to be Barack Obama, President Barack Obama’s vice president.”
It wasn’t just the state of Iowa that he seemed to be courting. For his official swearing in at the Naval Observatory on Sunday, Biden invited members of two other early primary states — New Hampshire and South Carolina. Newly elected Gov. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and other New Hampshire officials attended, and according to a pool report, and a seat at the ceremony was reserved for South Carolina Democratic Party chair Dick Harpootlian.
And who did the vice president select to swear him in for a second term? Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who was the third woman and first Hispanic to ever issue the oath. On Sunday evening, the wooing of Hispanics continued when he made a surprise stop at the Latino Inaugural Gala.
“One thing that happened this election, you spoke, you spoke in a way that the world — and I mean the world as well as the United States — could not fail to hear,” Biden said there. “The fact that the Hispanic and Latino community in this country was such a decisive voice in turning out in this election was noticed by the whole hemisphere. … I think you underestimate your power. I think you underestimate what you’ve done for America and what you’re about to do.”
Then came Biden’s jaunt through the inaugural parade Monday when the vice president hammed it up with the crowd as he jogged up and down and zigzagged across the parade route, giving hugs and handshakes to supporters, wearing his penchant for retail politics on his sleeve.
So Biden left plenty of 2016 tea leaves to read as he heads into his second term as President Obama’s number two.
UPDATE: In an interview that aired on CNN Tuesday, Biden said he hasn’t determined whether he’ll seek the presidency in 2016.
“Oh, there’s a whole lot of reasons why I wouldn’t run. I haven’t made that decision and I don’t have to make that decision for a while,” Biden said.
Asked if he’s ready to run against Hillary Clinton in 2016, Biden said, “I haven’t made that judgment and Hillary hasn’t made that judgment.”
But there is one person hoping Biden will take the plunge and run for president next time around – his son, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden.
“In a couple of years, I think he’s going to take a hard look at it,” Beau Biden said on MSNBC Tuesday morning. “I hope he does.”