Biden Seems Revved Up and Ready for 2016; Seen as Likely Contender

Article excerpt

Byline: Seth McLaughlin and Stephen Dinan, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Even as President Obama on Monday grasped the reins of power for another four years, the man who would be his successor - Vice President Joseph R. Biden - was never far away.

Over the weekend he even seemed to jump the gun, telling the audience at the State Society of Iowa, which holds the first-in-the-nation caucuses, that I'm proud to be the president of the United States. He quickly corrected himself, but it only added to speculation he's got his eye on a promotion to the top job.

With Mr. Obama already a lame duck, the political establishment has begun to look to 2016, and Mr. Biden is giving all the right signs of interest in a campaign.

On Sunday at an inauguration banquet, Mr. Obama shied away from a political message, but Mr. Biden dived in, ticking off their first-term accomplishments, including health care, gay rights and two Supreme Court justices, and vowed they were just getting started.

In the weeks and months ahead, we're going to reduce gun violence here in America. We're going to pass comprehensive immigration reform. And we're going to put this nation's economy on a sustainable path to the future, he said.

Mr. Obama lavished praise on Mr. Biden, saying picking him as running mate in 2008 was absolutely correct - absolutely spot on.

I could not have a better partner than Joe Biden, he said.

It's a far cry from talk during last year's campaign, when some Democrats urged Mr. Obama to kick Mr. Biden off the ticket.

On Monday, the vice president seemed to be in campaign training, hamming it up during the inaugural parade, doling out thumbs-up to those lining the route and jogging from one side of the street to the other to shake hands.

Before he was Mr. Obama's chief cheerleader, Mr. Biden was a senator from Delaware for 26 years, but he's no stranger to presidential runs, either. …