U.S. vice-president Joe Biden will not seek the presidency, he announced in a surprise appearance at the White House on Wednesday.
The news capped months of speculation about whether Biden would challenge Hillary Clinton, his fellow Democratic lion, former Senate colleague and friend.
“As my family and I have worked through the grieving process,” he said referring to the recent death of his son Beau, “I’ve said all along that it may very well be that that process, by the time we get through it, closes the window on mounting a realistic campaign for president.
“I’ve concluded it has closed.”
Flanked by his wife, Jill, and Barack Obama, Biden thanked the president for lending him the Rose Garden, and spoke in personal terms about the loss of his eldest son to cancer in May.
“My family has suffered a loss, and I hope there will come a time… that sooner rather than later, when you think of your loved one, it brings a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eyes.
“That’s where the Bidens are today.”
Biden promised to be active during the campaign.
“I will not be silent. I will speak clearly and forcefully… on where we stand as a nation”, and where the country needs to go.
He made a case for the president standing beside him.
“This party, our nation, will make a tragic mistake if we walk away or attempt to undo the Obama legacy.
“Democrats should not only protect this record, or defend this record – they should run on this record.”