Joe Biden talks 2016 US presidential race and healthcare on The View

joe bidenThe Guardian – by Tom McCarthy

Vice-president Joe Biden on Tuesday dwelled at length on the question of whether he would jump into the 2016 presidential race, telling the hosts of The View talk show that he has the support of his wife should he decide to run, and that his decision will not hinge on whether Hillary Clinton runs.

“I absolutely have not said no,” Biden said. “I’m as likely to run as to not run.”  

View co-host Barbara Walters, who has said she will retire this year, pressed him on when he might make an announcement.

“I’ll tell you what,” Biden said. “Make you a deal. If you stick around, I will announce my decision with you.”

Biden’s appearance on the program, his fourth,was billed as a chance for him to boost enrollment in health care exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. To that purpose, he encouraged moms in the audience to call their children and tell them to get covered.

“No matter how old we get, we still listen to our moms,” Biden said. “It sounds corny, but it’s true … Moms have great influence. Call your sons and daughters. Tell them to sign up.”

Health and human services secretary Kathleen Sebelius said she’d like to see at least 7 million people enrolled in health care programs through the exchanges by the end of open enrollment on 31 March. By the end of January, 3.3 million people had signed up.

But the most probing questions to come from The View co-hosts focused on Biden’s designs on a job promotion.

“Let me try coming in backwards,” Walters said. “If Hillary does not run, will you?”

“Whether she runs or not does not affect my decision,” Biden said. “Everything I would have to do to be a viable candidate is the same thing I’d have to do to be the best vice-president possible.”

Biden said his foreign policy experience “uniquely” qualified him to carry out President Barack Obama’s agenda – neglecting to note that his prospective opponent, Clinton, most recently held the job of secretary of state.

“I think my knowledge of foreign policy, my engagement with world leaders, uniquely positions me to follow through on the agenda Barack and I have” begun, Biden said.

And Biden responded to a question from Jenny McCarthy about his legacy as vice-president with a specificity that would have not sounded out of place in a stump speech.

“He’s given me major assignments, carte blanche to take whatever assignment I want and do it my way,” Biden said of the president. He said Obama had personally bypassed proposals by Clinton and former defense secretary Robert Gates to put him, Biden, in charge of the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. He said he also ran the first-term stimulus program.

On Monday night Biden appeared on Late Night with its new host, comedian Seth Meyers, and joked with fellow guest Amy Poehler about the 2016 presidential contest.

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