Vice President Joe Biden has ended his Hamlet-like indecision about a White House run, announcing from the Rose Garden that it’s too late for him “to mount a winning campaign for the nomination.” Biden assured listeners that, “While I will not be a candidate, I will not be silent” — an assurance that drew smiles from Washington insiders. The gregarious Biden has never been accused of silence.
But even as Biden bowed out, he continued to dream — and his is the kind of dream that makes people reach for high office in the first place. “If I could be anything,” Biden said, “I’d want to be the president that ended cancer, because it is possible.” He sounded wistful and full of regret about not running — if for passing up this opportunity alone. (Biden, as is by now well known, recently lost a son to brain cancer.) Biden said that the country needed a “moonshot” to cure the disease, referencing JFK’s challenge to send a man to the moon by the end of the 1960s. It was a challenge the US met, though Kennedy did not live to see it.