By Kate Bolduan and Producer Lindsay Perna
Vice President Joe Biden joked this week that being able to drive his Corvette – is one good reason not to run. But, when asked to give another good reason not to run, Biden responded simply.
“There may be reasons I don’t run, but there’s no obvious reason for me why I think I should not run,” he said in the interview with Kate Bolduan on CNN’s “New Day.”
Biden went on to say he would make a decision “realistically, a year this summer.”
This interview took place at one stop along Biden’s campaign-style tour pushing the President’s “year of action” as set out from the State of the Union address.
The President is giving Biden six months to develop a task force to reform federal jobs training and bridge more than 10 million unemployed Americans with unfilled jobs.
“The income inequity in this country is profound. The middle class is shrinking,” Biden said to Bolduan following an earlier event in Philadelphia focused on infrastructure and transportation efforts.
But, the focus on the middle class is being overshadowed by another daunting issue likely to follow both Democrats and Republicans leading up to midterm elections: immigration.
House Speaker Boehner said on Thursday that immigration reform is unlikely this year because his caucus doesn’t trust the President after how Obama handled the healthcare law and his recent string of executive actions. Boehner said the President has fed distrust by changing the law “on a whim,” and “telling everyone that he’s going to keep acting on his own.”
Responding to those comments, Biden told Bolduan he still thinks “we can get this done” – and that “it doesn’t take much time.”
He added that House Speaker Boehner is under “a great deal of pressure from the Right.” But that, “he’ll work his way through this.”
“We should let them figure their caucus out,” he said.
Still, a Senate-passed immigration bill is currently stalled in the House – and has been largely contended by Republicans who say border security has to be addressed before the question of legal status.
A Q&A released by Boehner’s office on Wednesday – titled “Draft Standards for Step-by-Step Immigration Reform,” writes that “the House’s approach would prohibit a special path to citizenship for those living here outside the law.”
When asked whether he would support a bill that falls short of offering a pathway to citizenship, Biden said it’s “clearly not our preference.”
“Any bill that passes out of the House has to go through a conference committee with the Senate, which passed overwhelmingly a pathway to citizenship.”
A new CNN/ORC poll released the same day as Speaker Boehner’s news conference shows American attitudes have changed on what immigration reform should look like – with 54% now supporting a pathway to citizenship to the 41% who say the focus should be on border security.
It’s a critical time for the Obama administration as their legacy issues like immigration and gun control are continually blocked in Congress. This as Democrats have become increasingly worried about how the botched roll-out of the President’s health care law will affect them in November elections.
So, does that mean the President will stay out of the races? Biden says “that’s not universally true.”
“There’s some places where I can go in and the president can’t. There are some places where it makes no sense for me to go in or for the president to go in,” he said.
But, Biden says he’s “truly optimistic about this year’s races.”
“The prospects of Democrats running for Congress, incumbents in the Senate, I think we are in the best shape we can be,” he said. “On every major issue, the public agrees between 51 and 70 percent with the position taken by the president of the United States and the Democratic Party.”
Midterms are likely to be the focal point of next week’s House Democratic retreat where the President and Vice President will be headline speakers.
So, where does this all leave Biden should he jump into his own election in a little over a year – far behind front-runner Hillary Clinton.
A recent Washington-ABC poll has the Vice President at a distant second to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – who voters chose 73% to his 12%.
Biden said his decision would be determined by whether he is “the best qualified person.”
“That doesn’t mean I’m the only guy that can do it,” he said. “But if no one else, I think, can, and I think I can, then I’d run. If I don’t, I won’t.”
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