After months of speculation about the vice president's possible bid for the White House, Joe Biden formally announced Wednesday that he will not run for president.
"I believe we're out of time -- the time necessary to mount a winning campaign," Biden said in a speech from the White House Rose Garden.
He may have also realized just how hard it is to run for president as a sitting VP. Although just one heartbeat from the presidency, history seems to suggest that being Vice President doesn't make it any easier to win the top job.
Here is a list of Vice Presidents who have made a run for the Oval Office:
Vice President from 1789-1797; President from 1797-1801.
Adams was the first Vice President of the United States, serving under George Washington. After Washington refused a third term, the Federalist ticket went to Adams, who won in the general election in 1796 over Democratic-Republican Thomas Jefferson in a fierce third presidential election. Although Jefferson was not Adams' running mate, he was elected Vice President. (According to voting procedure back then, the position of VP went to whoever got the second largest amount of Electoral College votes.)
Which leads us to...
Vice President from 1797-1801; President from 1801-1809.
Unlike other VPs, Thomas Jefferson succeeded his predecessor by taking the Presidency away from him. Jefferson ran against Adams in the Election of 1800, and won. (Remember how Jefferson and Adams ran against each other in 1796?) After that happened, the Twelfth Amendment was ratified to outline voting procedure and was used in the next election. Starting in 1804, Presidents and Vice Presidents were voted for separately to avoid these awkward pairings.
Martin Van Buren
Vice President from 1833-1837; President from 1837-1841.
As Vice President under Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren enjoyed a greater influence than most Vice Presidents, especially when it came to the nation's finances. Jackson respected him, and Van Buren received the Democratic nomination for the presidency for the 1836 election. He faced multiple Whig candidates and was elected President. He served one term, losing the 1840 election to Whig William Henry Harrison.
John C. Breckenridge
Vice President from 1857-1861.
By the time James Buchanan's Vice President, Kentucky native John C. Breckenridge, was running for President in 1860, the country was on the brink of civil war. Democrat Breckenridge vehemently argued in support of preserving the union, but Northern Democrats broke away from Southern Democrats and put forth Stephen Douglas as their nominee. Southern Democrats chose Breckenridge, splitting up the party. Breckenridge gained support from Southern states but could not match the support that Republican Abraham Lincoln had in Northern States. Lincoln won the election with 180 electoral votes to Breckenridge's 72. And the rest is history.
John Nance Garner
Vice President from 1933 - 1941.
Vice President under Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John Nance Garner vied for the Democratic Party's ticket in 1940, after FDR's second term. FDR called into the convention expressing no desire to run, which led to an uproar of delegates begging him to accept the nomination (as many historians say was his plan all along). This move ended Garner's presidential bid before it even began. FDR also chose a different running mate for his third term, leading us to...
Henry A. Wallace
Vice President from 1941 - 1945.
Vice President for FDR's third term, Henry Wallace was a controversial choice from the start. The liberal running mate eventually clashed with the president, leading FDR to select Harry S. Truman as his running mate for his fourth term. Wallace was then appointed Secretary of Commerce by the president a month before Roosevelt's death. Wallace held the position until 1946 when Truman fired him. (Note: Truman fired all of FDR's cabinet members. Wallace was actually the last to be let go.)
Wallace proceeded to run for President against Truman in the 1948 election on the Progressive Party ticket and received zero Electoral College votes. Truman was Vice President, but became President when FDR died, so technically, VP Truman was President Truman for his own re-election. (See Teddy Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson for similar circumstances.)
Vice President from 1953 - 1961; President from 1969-1974.
Richard Nixon was Vice President under Dwight D. Eisenhower and received the Republican Party's nomination for President in 1960. He was then defeated by Democrat John F. Kennedy in the general election. Two years later, he ran for Governor of California and also lost again. In 1968, Nixon received the Republican Party's presidential nomination and became America's first Vice President to be elected President after a gap in holding public office.
Vice President from 1965-1969.
The election of 1968 would pit a Vice President against a former Vice President. After Lyndon B. Johnson announced he would not run for re-election, his Vice President Hubert Humphrey threw his hat into the ring. Although he clinched the Democratic Party's nomination, he lost the election to Richard Nixon. But Humphrey did not leave public office for long. In 1971, the one-time Senator returned to the U.S. Senate, and remained there until his death seven years later.
Vice President from 1977 - 1981.
Walter Mondale was Vice President under Jimmy Carter, whose administration ended after one term, when Republicans Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush beat the duo in 1980. Mondale couldn't stay off the campaign trail for long. He ran against Reagan/Bush again in 1984, this time as the Democrat's presidential candidate. He lost in an Electoral College landslide, though he retained 40% of the popular vote.
George H.W. Bush
Vice President from 1981-1989; President from 1989-1993.
George H.W. Bush is the first President in recent history to be elected following two terms as Vice President. He could not match it with two terms as President, however, as Bill Clinton defeated him in the 1992 election.
Vice President from 1993-2001.
Looking to follow in George H.W. Bush's footsteps as a two-term Vice President elected to President, Al Gore ran for office in 2000. He ran virtually unopposed for the Democratic nomination. And although he won the popular vote in the general election against George H.W. Bush's son, Texas Governor George W. Bush, Gore lost in the Electoral College in a recount contest that was ultimately decided by the Supreme Court.