, WASHINGTON, Oct 7 – Vice President Joe Biden, who has spent months mulling whether to jump into the 2016 White House race, received strong encouragement Wednesday when a pro-Biden group released a TV ad urging him to run.
“Things can change in a heartbeat. I know,” begins the 90-second ad, which consists entirely of remarks Biden made during a commencement address at Yale University.
The spot was released by Draft Biden, a political action group not directly connected with the Delaware native but which is encouraging him to run for president.
Voters and the nation’s political class have been closely watching whether Biden, 72, will challenge Democratic frontrunner and friend Hillary Clinton for their party’s nomination.
The new ad highlights Biden’s empathy, and the special connection he has with everyday Americans, something that Clinton’s critics say she lacks on the campaign trail.
“The incredible bond I have with my children is the gift I’m not sure I would have had, had I not been through what I went through,” said Biden.
“But by focusing on my sons, I found my redemption. Many people have gone through things like that.”
Biden’s early adulthood was marred by tragedy. His first wife and infant daughter were killed in a car accident in 1972. His two sons survived the crash.
But the Bidens suffered another devastating blow earlier this year, when son Beau Biden died of brain cancer last May at age 46.
The ad ends with the simple request: “Joe, run.”
The vice president, who has sought the White House twice before, acknowledges testing the waters.
Last month in battleground state Florida, a sombre Biden said his family’s “emotional energy” in the aftermath of Beau’s death was the primary factor, not whether he could raise funds or put together a campaign team.
It has been widely assumed that President Barack Obama’s wingman would launch his own bid should Clinton’s campaign implode or her poll numbers tank.
While her approval and poll ratings have taken a hit, particularly over her use of a private email address while serving as secretary of state, her campaign remains in pole position.