Former Vice President Joe Biden told CNN on Tuesday he’s in no hurry to announce whether he’s running for president in 2020 but knows he needs to make a decision soon.
“I don’t think there’s any hurry to have to announce,” Biden said as he was deplaning a flight from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Washington Dulles International Airport Tuesday morning. “I don’t have any particular timetable. I don’t think there’s any hurry, but there’s a bigger hurry to decide just personally.”
Asked how his family currently feels about a run, Biden, who was seated in business class, said, “They’re thinking.”
At an event in Fort Lauderdale on Monday night, Biden indicated he was inching closer to deciding whether to launch a third run for the White House, adding that verdict would come soon.
“The answer is that I’m running the traps on this. I don’t want to make this a fool’s errand,” Biden said. “I’m a lot closer than I was before Christmas, and we’ll make the decision soon.”
On Tuesday, Biden also weighed in on the possibility of former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz running for president as an independent and shared his belief that the 2020 process is getting started “awful early.”
“I think he’s smart as hell, and I think it’s his decision,” Biden said of Schultz. Asked if Schultz would hurt Democrats’ chances of beating President Donald Trump, Biden said, “I think it’s premature.”
“We’re so far out and who knows what it’s going to look like a year from now. One of the things that I think we’re doing is — and it’s us, not the press — we’re starting awful early,” Biden said. “I think we should be concentrating on figuring out how to deal with the damage he’s doing right now and not start a…debate about who among us and the rest but you know, look, that’s me.”
Biden also insisted that “there’s no ambivalence” about him running.
Throughout the exchange, which spanned from the plane to the jet bridge, Biden was multi-tasking, carrying his bags, saying hello to employees and passengers who simply called him “Joe,” and even taking a phone number from one passenger who wanted the former VP to call his mom. One passenger on the plane chimed in, saying to laughter “Joe, I thought you just rode trains, man!”
Biden also heard words of encouragement to run. As Biden was walking off the plane, Stephen Novak, a registered Republican who lives in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, shook the former vice president’s hand, stuck a business card in his jacket pocket, and told him to run for president in 2020.
“I lost two of my heroes this past year, George Herbert Walker Bush and John McCain, and what we need right now in this country can be summed up in one word — civility,” Novak, a retired military intelligence official who survived the 9/11 attack at the Pentagon and now works in the biotech industry, told CNN afterward. “I’m encouraging Joe Biden to run because I think he’d make an excellent president.”
“The good news about my career is I saw the best and the worst of what our government has been involved with over the years, and we are here for one reason and that is to build relationships, not only global, but regional and the local level where we can leave the place and our world and people around us just a little bit better than how we found them, and we do that through providing service to others, with grace gratitude and humility through the spiritual strength. That’s the reason I want Joe Biden to run,” Novak, who said he wrote in former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush for president in 2016, told CNN. “I think Joe Biden could bring a great balance and a great civility back to our nation.”