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Biden enjoying the spotlight amid buzz over 2016 presidential run

WASHINGTON – Joe Biden, as he himself put it Tuesday, is as likely to run for president in 2016 is he is not to. But one thing seems clear of late: He's not averse to the attention that a possible third bid for the White House brings on him.

In a pair of national television appearances in a 12-hour span, the vice president alternately joked about making a "major announcement" about his plans and made a serious case as to why he deserves to move into the Oval Office.

"The only reason to run for president of the United States is if you truly believe you're better positioned to do what you think is most needed in the country," Biden said on "The View" Tuesday.

"I think my knowledge of foreign policy, my engagement with world leaders, my experience uniquely positions me to follow through on the agenda Barack and I have of bringing about world peace in a way that is real and substantive. I also think the middle class is the single focus, what we should be looking at, and how to grow it," he said.

Notably before the female-skewed audience of the daytime talk show, Biden said that Hillary Clinton's plans "will not affect my decision."

"I absolutely have not said no" to running, he said. "It's as likely I run as I don't run. I just truly haven't made up my mind."

Biden also made a deal with "View" host Barbara Walters – if she stays on as a co-host of the show, he'll reveal his final decision with her.

The vice president has often joked about how the office he now holds has often diminished the stature its occupant. He noted on "The View" that a vice president has "no inherent power," only the "reflected power" a president transfers.

Perhaps that was clear when he was Seth Meyers' second, rather than first guest on the new "Late Night" show. Amy Poehler, Meyers' former "Weekend Update" anchor, took first billing, though she gushed about the man she called a "gorgeous charm monster" before he arrived on set.

Biden was more serious about the topic of his future on "The View," during which he also pleaded for mothers to encourage their young adult children to sign up for health insurance.

Asked on the NBC show if he would run in 2016, Biden joked that he had "planned on making a major announcement" on the show. "But I decided tonight was your night. So I hope you'll invite me back," Biden told Meyers.

When Poehler joked she was ready to announce her candidacy in 2016, Biden quickly said he'd run as her vice president.

Meyers, pointing to a viral photo of Biden pointing to someone in the audience during the State of the Union address, joked: "If there was an NRA for finger guns you would be president."

Biden has often stressed his close working relationship with Obama, repeating Tuesday that he and the president are "close personal friends" and "ideologically compatible." But interviews are the latest examples of how the vice president's activities of late appear to be more in line with a traditional second-term vice president who might be seeking a promotion.

But Biden insisted his focus was on 2014 – winning back the House and retaining the Senate majority – because "our agenda is not going to be worth much" afterward if they lose.

"The good news is everything I think I would have to do to be a viable candidate is the exact same thing I should be doing to be the best vice president I could possibly be," he said on "The View."

michael.memoli@latimes.com
On Twitter: @mikememoli

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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