WASHINGTON (JTA) — Vice President Joe Biden, perhaps the closest Obama administration official to the pro-Israel community, said he is not running for president.
Biden appeared Wednesday with his wife, Jill, and President Barack Obama at the White House to deliver his announcement.
Speculation has mounted for weeks that Biden, whose son Beau’s wish before dying in May of brain cancer was that his father run for president, might enter the race.
“I would have wanted to be the president who ended cancer,” he said. “Because it’s possible.”
Biden, 72, had previously said that the toll of his son’s death on himself and his family made the prospect of a run difficult.
Beau and Biden’s daughter, Ashley, both married to Jews, and Biden is close both to the Jewish community in his home state of Delaware and to national Jewish organizations and the pro-Israel movement. He was the designated outreach person within the Obama administration to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during periods of tension in the Israeli-Palestinian relationship and in the run-up to the signing of the recent Iran nuclear deal.
Hillary Rodham Clinton remains the Democratic front-runner despite questions about her use of a personal email to conduct government business when she was secretary of state. Her strongest challenger for the Democratic nomination is Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., perhaps the most serious Jewish contender ever for the presidency.