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‘Long Shot’ Biden Forgoing Presidential Bid

Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) announced Monday that he will not seek his party’s nomination to take on President Bush in 2004.

In a statement released this morning, Biden said his chances of becoming the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee were “too much of a long shot.”

“At this moment, my instincts tell me that the best way for me to work to enhance America’s national security and to fight for economic security for the middle class is to remain in the United States Senate,” Biden said. “From there, I will also attempt to influence the positions taken by my party’s nominee on these issues.”

Biden indicated that he felt he had waited too long to join the nine-candidate field, which includes four of his Senate colleagues.

“At this late date, everything would have to fall perfectly into place, and I would have to put on hold what influence I have in the United States Senate in pursuit of what is now too much of a long shot,” Biden said.

Biden, who did not hold a formal news conference to announce his decision, made up his mind late last week after consulting with his family, according to spokeswoman Margaret Aitken.

Biden also is not planning any public appearances following the release of his statement, said Aitken, because he is leaving today for a beach vacation with his family.

The nine declared Democratic candidates for president are: Sen. John Kerry (Mass.), Sen. Bob Graham (Fla.), Sen. John Edwards (N.C.), Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.), former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun, Rep. Richard Gephardt (Mo.), Rep. Dennis Kucinich (Ohio) and the Rev. Al Sharpton.

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