Biden is a sitting vice president in a second-term administration; he should be a natural prospect to run for the top job in the next election – something, he’s made clear, that he’s interested in doing. Of the three most recent two-term veeps, two – George H.W. Bush and Al Gore – used the office to clear relatively easy paths to presidential nominations, while the third – Dick Cheney – never seriously toyed with running on his own.
And, as Klein’s piece demonstrates, Biden’s credentials are even stronger when you consider the unusually consequential role he’s played in the Obama White House. He’s now the point-man on a major initiative on gun violence, and just before that was deputized to secure a last-minute fiscal cliff deal with Mitch McConnell. In fact, he’s been a key player in all of the White House’s various fiscal battles with the GOP, and let’s not forget the time he forced his boss’s hand on gay marriage. Biden hasn’t claimed the singular power that Cheney enjoyed in George W. Bush’s first term (and here’s hoping no vice president ever does again), but beyond that it’s hard to think of a No. 2 who’s loomed as large in an administration as he has.
So why do we keep having to remind ourselves to include him in the ‘16 mix? There are two obvious reasons. The first is age: Biden turned 70 last month, meaning that if he runs in the next election, he’ll be 73 during the campaign and 74 on his inauguration – meaning he’d be the oldest person ever to be sworn in as president. (Ronald Reagan didn’t turn 74 until a few weeks after his second inaugural.)