Waiting for Biden: Impatience about 2016 takes chaotic turn

(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON (AP) — He’s running! He’s about to decide! He’ll announce within two days! He’s maybe, possibly, surely, definitely going to figure it out really, really soon!

No shortage of people made assertive declarations Monday about whether Joe Biden is going to run for president.

The flood of purported revelations reverberated throughout the political world, but there was just one problem: None of it came from Biden’s lips.

Months in to his painfully drawn-out deliberations, the vice president continued his public silence. Yet several individuals familiar with his decision-making disputed claims that an announcement was imminent. No surprise: the individuals weren’t authorized to comment publicly and demanded anonymity.

Their protestations did little to curb rampant speculation at the White House, in Congress and on cable television. Even President Barack Obama, after a meeting on global warming, was asked about his deputy.

“We’re talking about climate change, guys,” Obama replied. After all, he said pointedly, the climate meeting was merely about “the survival of the planet.”

White House press secretary Josh Earnest spent much of his daily briefing fielding unconventional questions aimed at yielding something – anything – about Biden’s decision. Does he look like he’s about to run? Is he agonizing over the decision?

“I’m not going to stand here and assess the vice president’s body language,” Earnest said.

Biden’s delays have increasingly put Democrats on edge, eager to know whether he’ll challenge front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton. One House Democrat claimed inside knowledge. Rep. Brendan Boyle of Pennsylvania wrote on Twitter that he has “very good source close to Joe that tells me VP Biden will run for Prez.”

Asked for explanation, Boyle’s spokeswoman said his staff was trying to track him down in his congressional district.

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