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Biden says he regrets not being president

Vice President Joe Biden leaves the the Old Senate Chamber following a mock swearing in ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017, as the 115th Congress begins. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)

Kevin Wolf, AP

Former Vice President Joe Biden says that while he believes he made the right decision not to run for president, he does have regrets about the outcome.

“I don’t regret not running in the sense that it was the right decision for my boy, for me, for my family at the time,” he said. “But do I regret not being president? Yes.”

In his remarks, made at Colgate University during a lengthy question-and-answer session with the president of the university, Brian Casey, the vice president was expansive about his decision in 2015 not to run for the presidency after the death of his son Beau Biden earlier in the year.

“You ever think, what if? Any regrets,” Casey asked.

“The answer is that I had planned on running for president,” Biden told him. “Although it would have been a very difficult primary, I think I could have won.”

“I had a lot of data,” he continued, “and I was fairly confident that if I were the Democratic party’s nominee, I had a better chance, even, of being president.” 

But I lost part of my soul,” he said, in reference to the death of his son. Biden had a timetable for his campaign. He had planned to announce in February 2015, but that changed when his son was diagnosed months earlier, in August 2015, with stage IV brain cancer, he told Casey.

He said he pushed back his announcement timeline because of the family’s slim hope that Beau Biden might recover. The former vice president acknowledged that when he said he’d make a decision the following fall, “the press began to think I was playing a game. But I couldn’t tell them about my boy,” Biden said. “He didn’t want anybody feeling sorry for him....He wanted me to run.”

And Biden also had a stinging indictment of his party and the people he felt were ignored during the presidential campaign, the traditional Democrats “who felt like they were being thrown on the industrial slag heap, who have lost hope.” 

“They looked out there, and they didn’t hear many people talking to them,” Biden said. “Did you hear one single word about that person in this campaign?”

Instead of policy arguments between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, he observed, “I think Democrats thought that the only way to win was to drive his negatives higher than her negatives.”