Democratic candidates who would have been Vice President Joe Biden’s primary opponents showed support, if not outright relief, in reaction to his announcement Wednesday that he’s decided not to run for president.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the front-runner for the party’s nomination, called Biden a “good friend and a great man” in a tweet. In a later statement, she said she admired his devotion to family, his work to save the auto industry and his continued fight for higher wages, safer communities and world peace.
“It’s a record to be proud of, defend, and build on,” said Clinton, who also served with Biden in the Senate. “And I am confident that history isn’t finished with Joe Biden. As he said today, there is more work to do. And if I know Joe, he will always be on the front lines, always fighting for all of us.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont thanked the vice president for his long public service and praised him for outlining a Democratic agenda that included fighting income inequality. “I look forward to continuing to work with him to address the major crises we face,” Sanders said in a statement.
National polls showed Biden trailing Clinton and Sanders, who have spent months gathering support and dollars on the campaign trail. In a Rose Garden speech that may cap a more than four-decade political career, Biden acknowledged that the window to mount a viable campaign had closed.
Nonetheless, he would have been a welcome addition to the race, said former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who’s also seeking the nomination. “I will always admire his strength in the face of adversity and his passion for bettering our country,” he said in a statement.
“Few Americans have had his breadth of public service,” former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, another contender, said in a statement.
As for the Republicans, front-runner Donald Trump got in a dig at Clinton, saying on Twitter that he would rather run against her record. “I think Joe Biden made correct decision for him & his family,” he tweeted.
Reaction from around the Democratic universe:
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