WASHINGTON, D.C.: Joe Biden is reportedly considering entering the 2016 White House race, a long shot move to present him as a safety net for Democrats worried about a possible implosion by frontrunner Hillary Clinton.
Biden, his family and his top advisors have begun actively exploring a run, The New York Times reported Sunday.
They are discussing the prospect with Democratic rainmakers and even some Clinton supporters spooked by signs she is vulnerable despite her standing in the polls.
And it has been reported that Biden’s beloved son Beau, who died in May, encouraged his father from his deathbed to run for president.
A Biden bid would unquestionably upend the Democratic nomination race.
But, should he run, he would have to decide whether to take his former ally and fellow former senator head on and exploit her vulnerabilities, or only pounce if and when Clinton, who has been dogged by scandal, veers into trouble on the campaign trail.
The vice president undoubtedly would be playing catch-up against Clinton, who has amassed millions of dollars in donations, has reeled in several Biden supporters, and has an overwhelming lead in Demoratic polls.
Clinton leads with 58 percent, according to a RealClearPolitics poll aggregate. Independent Senator Bernie Sanders is at 18.2, while Biden is third at 12 percent.
But polls also show mounting voter distrust in the former secretary of state, who has been dogged by a lingering email scandal and concerns about her family foundation.
Last week’s Quinnipiac University poll had Clinton’s favorability rating at 40 to 51 percent, her worst ever, while Biden’s surged to 49 to 39, his best score in seven years.
“He’s probably looking at this and saying, ‘Why not me?’” David Axelrod, a former senior advisor to President Barack Obama, told NBC Monday.
“But then there is the other side of the equation, which is what it takes to put a presidential campaign together against a very formidable opponent,” he added.
“I think that is a real big reality check here, so I’m a little skeptical about the bombshell of the weekend.”
Biden would face an uphill battle. He is five years older than Clinton, who is 67, and his nomination would deny Americans the chance to elect their first woman president.
Biden is likely to decide by late summer, the Times reported.
Clinton is due to testify before Congress on October 22, when Republican lawmakers will grill her about her role in response to the deadly 2012 Benghazi attacks and her use of an unsecured personal email account while conducting State Department business.