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Emotional Biden Won’t Rule Out 2020 Run

Visited Senate to preside over vote on medical research bill

Vice President Joe Biden stops to speak with reporters following a vote on the 21st Century Cures Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Vice President Joe Biden stops to speak with reporters following a vote on the 21st Century Cures Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

By Niels Lesniewski and Bridget Bowman
CQ Roll Call

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., said Monday he wouldn’t rule out a 2020 run for president.

“I’m not committing not to run,” Biden told reporters off the Senate floor. “I’m not committing to anything. I learned a long time ago, fate has a strange way of intervening.”

Biden had been asked about a White House bid in four years, when he initially replied, “yeah I am. I am going to run in 2020.”

He then took a long pause before committing to be noncommittal.

Biden was in the Capitol to preside over a procedural vote to limit debate on a bill that includes support for the cancer “moonshot” he has championed since the death of his son Beau, the former Delaware attorney general.

And suffice to say it, he needed the tissues.

Presiding over the vote to limit debate on what’s known as the 21st Century Cures Act, Biden teared up as Senate leaders, particularly Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, talked about the cancer moonshot efforts and Biden’s late son.

A clerk swiveled around in her chair and handed Kleenex to Biden, who hid them in his hands below the presiding officer’s desk until he needed to wipe his eyes.

Throughout the vote, senators approached the dais.

Biden has been a fixture in the Senate since his election in 1972.

He had a particularly long chat after handshakes with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Delaware Sens. Thomas R. Carper and Chris Coons.  And Biden also exchanged laughter with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

McConnell had announced that a portion of the legislation committed to cancer research efforts at the National Institutes of Health would be named for the vice president’s son Beau. 

“Today, the Senate would like to specifically acknowledge his efforts to help Americans struggling with cancer. He’s known the cruel toll this disease can take,” said McConnell, a Kentucky Republican. “But he hasn’t let it defeat him — he’s chosen to fight back, he’s taken a leading role, and the Senate will soon pass the 21st Century Cures Act as testament to tremendous efforts like his.”

“I think it fitting to dedicate this bill’s critical cancer initiatives in honor of someone who’d be so proud of the presiding officer today: his son Beau,” McConnell said.


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