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Joe Biden shows signs of staking out White House from Hillary Clinton

- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 3, 2014

Vice President Joseph R. Biden is giving off the vibe that's feeling a bit left behind — a bit down in the dumps due to all the hoopla that's swirling about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her possible 2016 White House run, political watchers said.

His recent speeches and public addresses are slightly self-promotional, aimed at wedging an opening into voters' hearts who are beginning to mull their candidates for 2016, one former White House official told The Hill.

For example, Mr. Biden told a crowd last week — apparently in reference to Mrs. Clinton's recent casting of herself as formerly debt-laden — that: "I don''t own a single stock or bond. I have no savings account," The Hill said.

Subsequent media reports proved Mr. Biden's claim as untrue, but political insiders say his statement was rendered in the spirit of a subtle campaign.

"It's almost like he's saying, or rather, screaming, 'Don't forget about me!' " the official described. And that viewpoint doesn't stand alone.

Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons said that while Mr. Biden hasn't explicitly expressed interest in the top executive office, he's nonetheless fighting hard to keep the doors open.

"When a political opportunity presents itself, it's really hard not to swing at that ball," Mr. Simmons said, in The Hill. "It's hard to resist a moment to differentiate yourself. Politicians run for office — that's what they know how to do. Until they're not running, they're always running for re-election. And until he decides not to run for president, he's got to be as forward-leaning as possible."

Mr. Biden's people say he's not truly announcing a wager at the White House and note that anything he's said in recent weeks has only been reiteration of previous comments.

There is some truth to that.

While speaking to a North American International Auto Show crowd earlier this year, Mr. Biden said that he "made a commitment in 1972 when I ran [for office] that I'd never own any stocks or bonds. I never have. That's why I'm listed as the poorest guy in Congress," The Hill reported.

Yet, the image of Mr. Biden trying to keep an open door on the presidency persists — especially when he takes actions that seem to copycat ones that Mrs. Clinton takes. One example, reported by The Hill: Mr. Biden recently posed for a selfie with musician Katy Perry. But that selfie was shot just a couple days after Ms. Perry posed for one with Mrs. Clinton and offered to write her a 2016 campaign song.

"Nothing in politics is coincidence," said another former White House official, speaking of the photographs, in The Hill. "Sure it was a fun moment, but it's also a serious one."

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