Vice President Joe Biden's decision on whether to fight Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination is going into overtime.
He and his advisers had considered the end of the summer as his decision deadline, reports Politico
, but now they're likely to push it back — to Oct. 1, the first Democratic Party debate on Oct. 13, or even as late as Oct. 24, the date of Iowa's Jefferson-Jackson dinner.
Biden, who is still mourning the death of his son Beau, has been wrestling emotionally with announcing his candidacy. Further, sources close to his inner circle say the delay also may be because he is waiting to see if Clinton's candidacy collapses so he would be able to capitalize on his continuing public popularity.
It is also possible that Biden might not make an announcement, or wait until the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries in February.
Clinton's campaign could implode — or gain ground — after October, depending on how her testimony
before the House Select Committee on Benghazi goes, Politico reports.
South Carolina Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn predicted Clinton's campaign will fall apart if she does not carry Iowa and New Hampshire, but Biden would already need to have declared his candidacy by then to benefit.
Democratic presidential campaign veteran Bob Shrum, though, said that by delaying his decision, Biden could be in danger of appearing to be taking advantage of Clinton's issues, rather than mounting a campaign on his own strengths.
"For him, this is not an opportunistic question, so I don’t think he can afford to give the impression that it’s all opportunistic,"” Shrum told Politico. "If that’s what people perceive, I think it would erode the authenticity and genuineness that people rightfully attribute to him."
Biden is already making campaign-like appearances and sounding much like a candidate. On Wednesday, he bashed GOP front-runner Donald Trump before Latino leaders at a Hispanic heritage event
at his residence at the Naval Observatory. He also spoke in California, just before the GOP debates, and made a swing through the key voting states of Michigan and Ohio.
"He's trying to keep the door open as long as he can," a former staffer said. "If you do nothing, then the door just closes on its own."
Other sources say that Biden has assured the White House that he plans to stick to his end-of-summer decision deadline.
The delays could make Biden miss some deadlines, meaning that he could even be campaigning without being on some states' ballots. That may not matter much, said Democratic consultant Joe Trippi.
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