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Joe Biden Opts Out Of Presidential Race

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Vice President Joe Biden. [CBS] Vice President Joe Biden. [CBS]
Joe Biden with his wife and President Obama  [CBS] Joe Biden with his wife and President Obama [CBS]

Vice President Joe Biden has decided to forgo a 2016 presidential bid.  

His announcement in the White House Rose Garden Wednesday ends months of speculation about whether Biden would step up to challenge Hillary Clinton, the current front runner for the Democratic nomination and his former Obama administration colleague. 

The vice president took his time to consider whether he and his family had the "emotional energy" to endure another campaign, following the tragic death over the summer of his 46-year-old son Beau. While his fellow Democrats gave him his space, pressure mounted for Biden to come to a decision as Democratic voters, party operatives and deep-pocketed donors considered which candidate to line up behind. 

Biden was also running up against logistical deadlines: The first filing deadline for appearing on a 2016 primary ballot is November 6 in Alabama. Additionally, the Democratic primary debates are already underway; CBS News hosts the next Democratic debate on November 14 in Iowa. 

While Clinton has dominated the race for the Democratic nomination, there's clearly at least some thirst among Democrats for an alternative. Bernie Sanders, the socialist senator from Vermont, has drawn huge crowds to his campaign events, and he has stayed competitive with Clinton in polls in key states, as well as in terms of fundraising. 

All the while, Biden had maintained a base of support. Polls throughout the year showed that Biden consistently won the support of at least 10 percent of Democrats nationally and in early-nominating states.

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