|AP Photo of Biden's Swearing In.|
The Vice-President seems to be making it clear that he'd like to be around a little while longer. He's dropping clues:
Vice-President Biden is clearly making it apparent to everyone that he's not closing the door yet, which is to be expected. His recent activity is also making it clear to everyone that he can still be a political force. Biden is very, very good at campaigning, and as we saw in the VP debate, he cleaned Paul Ryan's clock in their head-to-head battle. His convention speech was strong, he's very good at retail politics, and he's a very captivating speaker. All of these are great attributes in a Presidential candidate, but he has two more very good ones: he's funny and likable, a must for Presidents, and he can connect with average people. The Vice-President's talents are clearly all good ones to have to be President. He's also got another advantage: Vice-Presidents are one step away, and the most clear successors.The governor of New Hampshire, which is the first presidential primary state, was among the few people to join Mr. Biden, his family and close political associates at the vice president’s residence. On Saturday night, Mr. Biden attended a pre-inaugural party of Democrats from Iowa, the first presidential caucus state, at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.Mr. Biden’s swearing-in, and Mr. Obama’s later at the White House, was arranged in advance of Monday’s traditional public inauguration because of the rare occurrence of Jan. 20 falling on a Sunday.Before Justice Sonia Sotomayor of the Supreme Court administered the oath in the foyer of the white mansion on northwest Washington’s Naval Observatory grounds that has been home to vice presidents since the late 1970s, the Biden party attended a private Mass there. Seen entering to join the expected 120 guests – about a dozen of them members of Mr. Biden’s family – was Gov. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, and her husband and daughter.By contrast, Mr. Obama’s swearing-in, to be administered by Chief JusticeJohn G. Roberts Jr. just before noon in the Blue Room of the White House, will be a smaller affair, attended only by Mr. Obama’s family and a small pool of reporters and cameras to record the event.Other attendees at Mr. Biden’s event included former Senators Chris Dodd,Ted Kaufman (who had been Mr. Biden’s chief of staff) and Chuck Hagel, the Republican who is Mr. Obama’s nominee for secretary of defense; current Senators Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Tim Kaine of Virginia; the House Democratic leader, Representative Nancy Pelosi, the assistant leader, Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, and RepresentativeDebbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairman of the Democratic Party.Cabinet members included Attorney General Eric Holder and outgoing Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. Mr. Obama’s national security adviser, Tom Donilon, the longtime Obama strategist David Axelrod and former White House Chief of Staff William M. Daley were there, along with the union leaderRichard Trumka and two prominent Democratic mayors, Michael Nutter of Philadelphia and Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles.
With all of that said, Biden has some major roadblocks in front of him. For one, he's 70 years old as he starts this second term. That means he's 72 when the campaign begins, 73 through the general election, and 74 years old before he could take office. He also has another roadblock: Hillary Rodham Clinton, the popular Secretary of State who leads him in all current polls. Biden's run before, and not done very well either time. All of these are pretty big question marks.
Nevertheless, the Vice-President, an institution in Washington since 1973, is sticking around for four more years. It seems that he's interested in a few extra.