Delaware Democratic Sen. Chris Coons, a close ally of former Vice President Joe Biden, said that Biden was "95 percent" ready to run for president, and that an announcement should happen "in the coming weeks." Coons spoke with CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett on this week's episode of "The Takeout" podcast.
"He and Jill still have some things I think they need to pray on and reflect on before just making that final decision," Coons said about Biden and his wife, Jill Biden. "But as he conveyed it to me and to others, he's 95 percent in, he's putting together the structure that you need to have a successful launch."
More than a dozen Democrats have already launched their presidential campaigns -- including former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke on Thursday -- but Coons said that Biden wasn't being coy by delaying his announcement.
"I don't think Joe's indecisive at all. I think Joe understands just how demanding and challenging a presidential campaign is," Coons said about Biden, who has run for president twice before. He took a shot at President Trump's campaign announcement in 2015, in which he rode down a gold escalator to give his speech at Trump Tower in New York City.
"[Biden] has the respect for the American people that he's not just going to ride down a gold-encrusted staircase in a high rise in New York and start blurting out whatever comes to his mind," Coons said. He also said that Biden would not treat the race like he's the frontrunner even as he leads the Democratic field in numerous polls.
"The best way to run, as someone who is about to run for reelection myself. You always run as an underdog. If you take it for granted, the American people have a long habit of handing you your papers," Coons said.
He added that he wasn't sure where Biden's campaign headquarters would be, but he hoped it would be in their home state of Delaware.
Coons also spoke about the Green New Deal, the ambitious plan to combat climate change championed by progressive lawmakers like New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. He said that there were a number of proposals in the Senate to address climate change, and that he believed the Green New Deal was "aspirational."
"It is an aspirational resolution," Coons said. He discussed his own bill which would finance renewable energy and has bipartisan support. "That's the kind of real green new deal we need to be talking about: legislation that we can all agree will fight climate change and strengthen the economy."
"When you say 'aspirational,' you mean pie in the sky?" Garrett asked.
"That's a synonym, yes," Coons said.
For more of Major's conversation with Chris Coons, download "The Takeout" podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, or Spotify. New episodes are available every Friday morning. Also, you can watch "The Takeout" on CBSN Friday at 5pm, 9pm, and 12am ET and Saturday at 1pm, 9pm, and 12am ET. For a full archive of "The Takeout" episodes, visit www.takeoutpodcast.com. And you can listen to "The Takeout" on select CBS News Radio affiliates (check your local listings).
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