Joe Biden said he's the 'most qualified person in the country to be president'
Joe Biden considered running for president in 2016. He was certainly qualified, having served two terms as Vice President, under President Barack Obama, plus represented Delaware as the U.S. Senator from Delaware from 1973 to 2009. That's a pretty amazing run - he entered the Senate as one of the youngest members, and left as one of the oldest. Although he was notoriously prone to gaffes, Biden was well-liked by the general public, and even inspired memes. However, after months of speculation, he announced he would not run for president in 2016. One possible factor was the death of his 46-year-old son, Beaux, who lost a battle to brain cancer the year before.
How would Joe Biden have fared in the Democratic primaries, facing front-runners Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders? It's hard to say. Both of them also offered experience from a lifetime of public service. Hillary appealed to centrist, establishment Democrats, and voters eager for a female president. (Seriously, not once in 241 years?) Meanwhile, Bernie riveted a passionate generation of progressive democratic socialists. Republicans slammed Hillary as "corrupt," and Bernie as "too radical" - how would they criticize Biden in a presidential campaign? In two years, we might find out.
During a stop at the University of Montana to promote his new book, Promise Me, Dad, Biden discussed his prospects in 2020. "I'll be as straight with you as I can. I think I'm the most qualified person in the country to be president," said Biden, as the crowd broke out into enthusiastic applause. He went to explain why his experience makes him a good fit for the position:
"The issues that we face as a country today are the issues that have been in my wheelhouse, that I've worked on my whole life... No one should run for the job unless they believe that they would be qualified doing the job. I've been doing this my whole adult life, and the issues that are the most consequential relating to the plight of the middle class and our foreign policy are things that I have -- even my critics would acknowledge, I may not be right but I know a great deal about it."
Biden said he plans to make a decision within six to eight weeks. Political campaigns are grueling, demanding tremendous time and energy, that affects not just the presidential candidate, but his entire family. "I have two young grandchildren my son left who love me and adore me and want me around," said Biden. "I want to be there to take care of them, so we've got to figure out whether or not this is something we can all do as a family."
The moderator listed some of Biden's potential liabilities: his age (76); the 1994 crime bill, which required violent offenders to at least 85 percent of their prison terms, snatching discretion away from judges; the allegations he "mishandled" the Clarence Thomas hearings by not doing enough to support Anita Hill; and of course, his propensity for gaffes. For example, at a campaign event, Biden asked State Senator Chuck Graham to stand up, not realizing he was in a wheelchair. Also, he once said, "I promise you the president has a big stick, I promise you."
However, Biden said he's not concerned about potential liabilities. "I am a gaffe machine, but my God what a wonderful thing compared to a guy who can't tell the truth," he said. "I'm ready to litigate all those things, the question is what kind of nation are we becoming? What are we going to do? Who are we? Whether or not I run, whoever runs, I'm going to break my neck to make sure they win," he said. "We can't have four more years."