As Vice President Joe Biden actively considers a run for the presidency
, close friends and political allies share a widespread view that he should stay out of the race or risk damaging his legacy.
According to The New York Times,
few are willing to tell him how they feel for fear of hurting his feelings or interfering with a decision that is seen as deeply personal.
"People deeply care about him and admire him," said one person who is personally close to Biden and has worked closely with him, according to the Times. "But you obviously have to worry about the feasibility and ultimate impact of a run."
He said it would be difficult to communicate the concern to Biden.
Admirers of Biden inside and outside the administration told the Times that they could see why he might jump into the race but were worried that it could end badly.
President Barack Obama is also worried about the effect a run could have on Biden as he struggles to come to terms with the death of his son, Beau.
"I understand completely why he would consider running," David Axelrod, a former Obama adviser who has spoken to Biden, said of his view on whether the vice president should join the race.
"On the other side is the reality of running for president. The fundraising, the demands of campaigning and organizing, the constant and irritating exposure, and the prospect of running against a well-fortified opponent who has a huge head start. Add all that up, and it is a counterweight to why he should run."
But Illinois Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin told the Times that Biden appreciated "better than any candidate in the race" the rough-and-tumble nature of presidential campaigns. "He's been through this before; he understands what is involved."
Durbin also said that concerns about Biden's legacy should not be a consideration because "the reputation he enjoys in this country is solid, whatever his final decision."
Some of his donors share that point of view.
"He just has to look inside himself and decide, and people like me will support whatever decision he makes," Richard Davis, a donor to and supporter of Biden in New York, told the Times. "But I only want him to proceed if he concludes he has a reasonably good chance of actually winning."
Others believe Biden should take the plunge, noting he is well-versed in the issues and performed strongly in debates when he ran in 1988 and 2008.
"Sometimes people forget how well he did," former North Dakota Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad who served with Biden, told the Times. "Joe has a humanity about him that comes across. He is for real. He believes in things. He is able to articulate his values, and I think he would acquit himself extremely well."
Friends say that the decision will ultimately be made by Biden and his family, uninfluenced by the views of others around Washington.
"There's a family vacation in the near future, and that's where the decision would be made for sure," said John Marttila, a veteran Democratic campaign strategist who worked on Biden's first Senate campaign in 1972 and was a close adviser to Biden during his presidential runs, according to the Times.
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