Would Obama endorse Biden in 2016 run for president?
WASHINGTON (CBS NEWS) -- President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are only a year into their second term, but even so, with eyes to 2016, the big question remains: Will Biden run, and, if so, will he be the person the president endorses?
With both the president and the vice president together for a rare joint interview - part of the president's recent interview with CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garrett - Garrett inquired about the future.
"The optics of this will be viewed by some through the prism of 2016," Garrett told Biden about his appearance with Mr. Obama in Pennsylvania Wednesday. "That's going to be true whatever you do the moment you declare whether you're a candidate or not. Does that change your ability to work on behalf of this president?"
Biden said there is nothing he would do differently. He added, "If I absolutely knew I wasn't going to run or I absolutely knew I was, there's nothing I'd do differently over the next seven, eight, 10 months. We have a very important job to do. The president, his agenda, is one I strongly believe in, and we have upcoming elections in 2014.
"If I decide to run, believe me, this'll be the first guy I talk to," Biden said, referring to Mr. Obama. "But that decision hasn't been made, for real, and there's plenty of time to make that. We have a lot of work to do between now and November."
Garrett asked the president how this all filters into his daily life.
Mr. Obama replied, "I've got somebody who I think will go down as one of the finest vice presidents in history, and he has been ... a great partner in everything that I do. I suspect that there may be other potential candidates for 2016 who have been great friends and allies. I know that we've got an extraordinary secretary of state who did great service for us and worked with me and Joe to help make the country safer."
Mr. Obama continued, "Whoever the Democratic standard bearer is, is going to be continuing to focus on jobs, making sure that our kids are getting a great education, making sure that we're rebuilding prosperity from the middle class out in this country - and I am very much interested in making sure that some of the stuff we've gotten started continues."
Pressed whether the candidate Mr. Obama was describing would be running for a third term or extension of the Obama presidency, the president said, "I don't necessarily want to jam them up. We all are part of this relay race, whether we're vice presidents, presidents. The truth is, is that we build off of what folks have done previously, and in some cases, that includes Republican presidents.
"That's the beauty of our democracy," he said. "It keeps on evolving, and I'm sure that there are going to be some things that, whoever the next president is, want to continue, there are going to be some things, I'm sure, that they're going to want to do differently, but the trajectory hopefully is going to be one in which we're broadening opportunity for every American."
The president did not, in the end, say whether he would endorse Biden or anyone else. He's keeping himself out of the race, but clearly, Garrett added, Biden will play an important policy role this year at the White House and will campaign extensively for Democrats in the midterm elections, which will keep speculation about him in 2016 very much alive.
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