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A President Biden 2024 re-election campaign has never been a sure thing.
But the president this weekend appeared to add an extra spoonful of uncertainly into the 2024 conversation by noting that “it’s much too early” to make any decision on launching a re-election bid.
“Look, my intention, as I said, that began with is that I would run again. But it’s just an intention. But is it a firm decision that I run again? That remains to be seen,” Biden said in an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes,” which aired on Sunday evening.
The 79-year-old Biden has said numerous times that if he remains healthy, he intends to run for re-election.
President Joe Biden speaks at a United Steelworkers of America Local Union 2227 event in West Mifflin, Pa., Monday, Sept. 5, 2022, to honor workers on Labor Day. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
“The answer is ‘yes.’ My plan is to run for re-election. That’s my expectation,” Biden emphasized in March 2021, during the first news conference of his presidency.
And late last year, he told ABC News that “if I’m in the health I’m in now, if I’m in good health, then in fact, I would run again.”
But in his “60 Minutes” interview, the president noted that “it’s much too early to make that kind of decision. I’m a great respecter of fate. And so, what I’m doing is, I’m doing my job. I’m gonna do that job. And within the timeframe that makes sense after this next election cycle here, going into next year, make a judgment on what to do.”
The comments by the president follow by a few days an NBC interview with first lady Jill Biden, during which the president’s wife said that she and her husband had “not yet” discussed a 2024 re-election.
Those conversations are expected to happen after November’s midterm elections, over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, with a potential 2024 decision likely coming early in the new year.
A source in Biden’s political orbit was quick to downplay the significance of the president’s latest 2024 comments.
“I really don’t read into it,” the source told Fox News. “His position on 2024 is unchanged.”
Then-former Vice President Joe Biden campaigns in front of the New Hampshire State House on Nov. 8, 2019, in Concord, N.H. (Fox News)
And Terry Schumaker, a New Hampshire-based attorney and former U.S. ambassador who’s been a Biden major backer dating back to the president’s first White House run in 1988, said, “I did see the president’s comments about the 2024 race on ’60 Minutes,’ and I thought they were very consistent with what he’s said before.”
“He intends to run. I hope he will run. I’ll support him if he runs. But he’s also in his 70s, as am I. And when we get to be this age, we understand that things can change health wise pretty quickly,” Schumaker told Fox News.
After seeing his poll numbers crater late last year and earlier this year, due to record inflation and skyrocketing gas prices, rising crime, increased border incursions and the chaotic pullout of American forces from Afghanistan, Biden’s enjoyed a political revival this summer, thanks in part to declining gas prices and slew of legislative victories in Congress. Biden’s rising (but still underwater) approval ratings appear to have helped boost the Democratic Party’s chances in November’s midterm elections, when the party hopes to retain its razor-thin majorities in the House and Senate.
And the president’s top political aides — behind the scenes — have been beginning to put together the framework for a 2024 re-election bid, with the effort to rely heavily on the existing resources of the Democratic National Committee, as first reported by NBC News last week.
But some Democrats are not so sure that Biden will seek a second term in the White House. And there’s been plenty of chatter and speculation for over a year and a half regarding whether the president will run for re-election in 2024. Biden made history in 2020 when he became the oldest person ever elected president. If he campaigns for re-election in 2024 and wins, Biden would be 82 at his second inaugural and 86 at the end of his second term.
A handful of high-profile Democrats that political pundits view as potential presidential contenders should Biden decide not to run for re-election have trekked over the past year to New Hampshire, the state that for a century’s held the first primary in the White House race.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg speaks at a news conference in Manchester, New Hampshire on Dec.13. 2021 (Fox News )
The latest is Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate who came in second in the New Hampshire primary. Buttigieg on Saturday returns to the Granite State headline a major fundraising gala for the state Democratic Party.
Veteran New Hampshire based Democratic consultant noted, “There are individuals who are thinking of running should he [Biden} decide not to run, so it’s good politics… that you lend a hand, make friends, keep your relationships alive, and if the president decides not to run, you’re in a good spot. And if he decides to run, you’re still in a good spot for four years down the road.”
Paul Steinhauser is a politics reporter based in New Hampshire.