DOVER, Del.- Delaware and national political figures alike are reacting to Vice President Joe Biden's announcement Wednesday that he will not run for president in 2016.
During an appearance at the White House Rose Garden, the 72-year-old Democrat said he always knew that the window for a viable campaign might close before he could determine whether his family was emotionally prepared for another campaign so soon after the death of his son Beau in May. Biden said his family was prepared to back him, but that he nonetheless would not be a candidate..
"Unfortunately, I believe we're out of time," he said, flanked by President Barack Obama and Biden's wife, Jill.
Biden was a six-time elected U.S. senator from Delaware before becoming vice president. His announcement Wednesday prompted several Delaware and national political figures to speak out about his decision not to run for president.
“Joe Biden is beloved by many, not just in Delaware, but throughout the country and around the world," said Delaware Gov. Jack Markell in a statement. "He connects to people on a personal level, has dedicated his life to supporting the middle class, and has provided tremendous leadership in promoting U.S. interests around the world - all of which would have made him a formidable candidate. This was a deeply personal decision and I respect the choice he has made.”
U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., said in a statement, "I respect and understand the vice president's decision not to seek the presidency. As always in his career, Joe Biden is putting his family first, and I am confident he will continue to add his important voice to our nation's ongoing debate about security in an uncertain world and opportunity for the middle class. I support his decision and look forward to continuing to work together."
Congressman John Carney, D-Del., said in a statement, "Joe's someone I have admired and looked up to for over 30 years. On a personal level, I’m disappointed that he’s decided not to run -- he would’ve made an excellent president. But I understand his decision, and in some ways, it makes me respect him even more. What we heard from Joe today was a continuation of his longstanding commitment to fighting for the middle class and opportunity for all Americans. I know he means it when he says he has no plan to give up that fight, and I'm glad to hear it -- the country will be better off for it. I’m committed to supporting Joe and his family in this important work."
Charlie Copeland, chairman of the Delaware GOP, also issued a statement.
"Voters can now turn their attention to Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and the other Democrat candidates for president who represent the extreme in liberal progressive politics, and who leave little to no room in the Democratic Party for anybody with moderate mainstream views," Copeland said. “As the sitting vice president it’s clear to Joe Biden that ‘waiting for Hillary Clinton to stumble' is not the narrative he needed to be taken seriously as a candidate. His cat-and-mouse game over the last few months indicates that the vice president understands that today is his final day in the political sun before all eyes turn to Hillary Clinton."
First State Democrats weighed in, too.
"The Delaware Democratic Party completely supports the Vice President," said John Daniello, the party chair, in a statement. "Though many of us would have welcomed his presidential bid, we know that Joe has made the right decision for himself and his family. Delaware Democrats will continue to support and praise his accomplishments; past, present and future.”
Clinton and other presidential candidates from both sides of the aisle also weighed in Biden's announcement not to run. Clinton tweeted, ".@VP is a good friend and a great man. Today and always, inspired by his optimism and commitment to change the world for the better. -H."
Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump tweeted, "I think Joe Biden made correct decision for him & his family. Personally, I would rather run against Hillary because her record is so bad."
In his announcement, Biden did not endorse Clinton or any of the other Democratic candidates. Instead, he used the announcement to outline the path he said Democrats should take in the 2016 campaign, including a call for them to run on Obama's record. In what could have been a campaign speech, Biden deplored the influence of unlimited contributions on politics, called for expanding access to college educations and called on Democrats to recognize that while Republicans may be the opposition, they are "not our enemy."
"While I will not be a candidate, I will not be silent," Biden said.
Wednesday's announcement was a disappointment for Biden supporters who had pleaded with him to run, and in increasingly loud tones as his deliberations dragged on through the summer and into the fall.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.