Biden: 'In my heart...I could make a good president'

McClatchy Washington BureauJanuary 29, 2014 

Vice President Joe Biden says he's confident he could make a "good president," but that he hasn't yet made the decision to run.

In a series of post-State of the Union interviews, Biden said he and his wife, Jill, will make the decision on whether or not to run and that a potential Hillary Clinton candidacy won't be a factor in his decision making.

"In my heart, I'm confident that I could make a good president," Biden told NBC's Today Show. "It's a very different decision to decide whether or not to run for president. And there's plenty of time to do that. I've not made a decision to run, I've not made a decision not to run."

Biden also told CBS's This Morning that he talked with House Speaker John Boehner at the State of the Union Tuesday and believes some immigration rewrite may happen this year.

He also voiced confidence in security preparations for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, saying he'd send his family -- with the "caveats to make sure they are very vigilant, make sure they kept their eyes open, listen."

He sidestepped the question of whether Russian officials have been fully cooperative with the U.S., but said the government was "using every tool at their disposal to make it safe."

He noted the State Department has issued a travel advisory for the Games and called the concerns "a state of play these days when major, major international events are staged," noting that similar worries were expressed after Sept. 11 when Greece hosted the Games.

"We feel good about where we are right now," Biden said. "But we've got to stay very vigilant."

Biden, who sat next to Boehner at the speech, said he and the speaker talked about the prospects for immigration in the House before Obama raised the matter.

"This year it looks like we may get something done," Biden told CBS in the interview from the vice president's residence at the Naval Observatory. He said the administration still prefers a pathway to citizenship -- which House Republicans have resisted.

But, he added, "What we are saying is, and I've said to John last night, pass something. If that's what you're gonna pass, pass it. And to use the wonkish term, let the Congress get to conference and let the Congress battle it out and decide what the route is. And then we'll decide whether we think it's good enough."

He defended Obama's focus on executive action, saying the administration is "not gonna sit around and wait for the Congress if they choose not to act."

And he noted, "part of this is making the case, repeatedly, to the American people, who, in turn, make the case to the Congress."

He also defended himself against former Defense Secretary Bob Gates, who wrote in his book that Biden's been wrong on foreign policy for 40 years.

"Bob and I like each other," Biden said. "But we have disagreed for 40 years." And he suggested that it "bothered" Gates that "the president listens to me a lot."

He ticked off the differences between the two, saying he thought the Vietnam War should end, Gates "didn't think that." Biden thought Iran-Contra "was a disaster; Gates "thought it was a good idea."

Biden viewed Mikhail Gorbachev as an "agent of change." Gates, he said, "encouraged Reagan not to view him as an agent of change." Biden wanted a war crime tribunals in Bosnia, Gates did not, Biden said.

And he noted, "the president said last night, it's time to end the war in Afghanistan. That's not Bob's position."

Biden told CBS it was too early to make a decision about running for president but that he and his wife, Jill, "will make that decision later down the road.

"I've got a job to do in the meantime," he said. "And if I do the job well and decide to run for president, it will help, if I don't do the job well, and decide to run for president, it won't help and if I don't run for president, it will all be OK."

He told ABC's Good Morning America that whether or not former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton runs will not affect his decision. Clinton hasn't yet said what she plans to do, but supporters are already campaigning for her and many Democrats assume Biden won't run if she does.

"If I run it won't be who is in the field," Biden said. "It'll be whether or not I honestly believe I have a chance to be able to really move this country in the direction that is different than those who are running, and that I can get that done."


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