Joe Biden Says He 'Couldn’t Win' 2016 Race

The vice president says he couldn't mount a viable campaign in time

ByABC News
October 25, 2015, 8:35 PM

— -- Vice President Joe Biden said he decided not to run for president this week when he realized he "couldn't win" the 2016 race.

"I'll be very blunt," Biden said on CBS' "60 Minutes." "If I thought we could've put together the campaign that, that our supporters deserve and our contributors deserved ... I would have gone ahead and done it."

Biden announced Wednesday that he would not launch a third bid for the White House, after months of weighing whether his family had the emotional energy to run following the death of his son Beau in May.

"It doesn't follow schedules of primaries and caucuses and contributors and the like," he said of his grief. "Everybody grieves at a different pace.

"I've said from the beginning that I don't know whether our ability to deal with the loss of Beau would reach a point where we could do that before time ran out," he said. "There was nothing we could control."

In the interview, the vice president disputed a story that his son asked him to run for president on his deathbed.

"Beau all along thought that I should run and I could win," he said. "But there was not what was sort of made out as kind of this Hollywood-esque thing that at the last minute Beau grabbed my hand and said, 'Dad, you've got to run, like, win one for the Gipper.' It wasn't anything like that."

If Biden had entered the 2016 race, it would have pitted him against Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, who served in the Obama administration as secretary of state during the president's first term. The vice president discussed his respect for Clinton and said he wouldn't have entered the race simply to challenge her.

"I like Hillary. Hillary and I get along together," he said. "The only reason to run is because I -- I still think I could do a better job than anybody else could do. That's the reason to run. I wouldn't run against Hillary."

Over the past week, the vice president has made pointed comments about not treating Republicans as enemies –- a statement that was seen as a jab at Clinton who in the first Democratic debate called Republicans her enemy.

"That wasn't directed at Hillary," Biden said of his comments. "That was a reference to Washington. All of Washington."

The vice president said that during his last year in the White House he hopes to focus on enhancing cancer research.

"I think I'm still moving up. I think we got a lot to do," he said.