- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 1, 2015

Vice President Joseph R. Biden intends to skip the first Democratic presidential debate to be held in two weeks in Las Vegas, delaying his decision about entering the race until later this month, CNN reported Thursday.

The network, which hosts the debate Oct. 13 at the Wynn Las Vegas, cited people close to Mr. Biden saying the vice president is not preparing for the debate and feels no pressure to make a decision about running by debate night.

CNN laid out the welcome mat for Mr. Biden to join the debate earlier this week, releasing eligibility criteria that would let him on the stage if he declares his intention to run as late as the day of the debate.

Mr. Biden’s poll numbers had qualified him for an invitation to the debate, according to the criteria.

The rules would apply to anyone, not just Mr. Biden, and also qualified every declared candidate for the Democratic nomination to participate in the debate.

Still, the focus on Mr. Biden underscored the widespread interest in his presidential ambition and the hunger for alternative to former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, whose campaign has been weakened by her email scandal but who nevertheless remains the odds-on favorite to win the nomination.

Mr. Biden has publicly struggled with his decision whether to run, saying he doesn’t know if “my whole heart” was in it after the death of his son, Beau Biden, in May from brain cancer.

He has wrestled with the decision for months. He originally set an end of summer deadline to make a decision, but that slipped past. He is now expected to make an announcement in the second half of October, according to the network.

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