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article imageGrieving Biden: 'Emotional energy' will guide decision on 2016 run

By Andrew Beatty (AFP)     Sep 4, 2015 in Politics

US Vice President Joe Biden said he is still uncertain about whether he can endure the rigors of a White House run so soon after the death of his son.

"I will be straightforward with you," Biden said in candid, and at times sorrow-filled remarks made just months after the loss of eldest son Beau.

"The most relevant factor in my decision is whether my family and I have the emotional energy to run," he said, acknowledging that that degree of honesty may not be politic.

In May, Biden and his family were plunged into profound grief when Beau, 46, died from brain cancer.

Beau's death is another tragedy for Joe Biden, whose first wife and infant daughter were killed in a car accident while Christmas shopping in 1972.

Beau and his brother Hunter were injured but survived the car accident.

"Unless I can go to my party and the American people and say that I am able to devote my whole heart and my whole soul to this endeavor, it would not be appropriate," the lifelong Democrat said.

Biden, 72, has been mulling whether to challenge Democratic frontrunner and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton for the party's nomination.

Clinton's campaign faces a barrage of Republican criticism, and is struggling to regain its footing after missteps related to the use of her private e-mail server for government business.

Meanwhile, speculation about a possible run by Biden has only grown.

Some doubt, however, that he could mount a viable campaign months into the race, and with Clinton still the prohibitive front runner.

"Everybody talks about a lot of other factors, the other people in the race, whether I can raise the money, whether I can put together an organization -- that's not the factor," Biden insisted.

"The factor is, can I do it, can my family undertake what is an arduous commitment that we would be proud to undertake under ordinary circumstances."

"The honest to God answer is, I just don't know."

"I know from previous experience, after my wife and daughter... there is no way to put a timetable on that."

The White House has said that Biden deserves the "time and space" to decide about whether to run.

"The decision that anyone makes to run for president is an intensely personal one," spokesman Josh Earnest said recently.

Biden's comments, delivered at a Synagogue in Atlanta, did little to tip his hand.

"If I can reach that conclusion that we can do it, in a fashion that would still make it viable, I would not hesitate to do it."

"But I have to be honest with you, and everyone who has come to me, I can look you straight in the eye and say now 'I know I can do that'," he concluded to sustained applause.

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