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Joe Biden Tells Firefighters He May Need Their Energy ‘in a Few Weeks’

Category: Political News,Politics

WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. signaled again Tuesday that he is close to announcing a presidential bid, saying in an address to the International Association of Fire Fighters union, “I appreciate the energy you showed when I got up here. Save it a little longer I may need it in a few weeks.”

Mr. Biden started his speech to chants of “Run, Joe, run.’

His appearance before the firefighters, who have long been among his closest labor allies, comes as he and his top advisers indicate to Democrats that he is poised to enter the 2020 race next month.

Before leaving last week for a brief vacation in St. Croix, Mr. Biden telephoned and met with a number of Democratic officials, signaling to them that he was preparing to run.

“He was leaning towards it,” said Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, who, along with the two other members of Mr. Biden’s home-state congressional delegation, had lunch with the former vice president at his office at the foot of Capitol Hill. “Everything necessary to lay the groundwork for a successful campaign is underway.”

Mr. Coons said Mr. Biden used the lunch to ask the lawmakers detailed questions “on a wide range of topics,” including the political dynamics in various states, the mood in the Senate caucus and how to organize robust digital, grass-roots and fund-raising efforts.

Yet even as Mr. Biden and one of his principal advisers, Steve Ricchetti, assure Democratic officials that he is all but certain to run, doubts persist that he will enter the race.

For months, Mr. Biden has sped past his own self-imposed deadlines about deciding whether to mount what would be his third White House bid. Speaking last month at the University of Delaware, he bluntly expressed his concerns about running, ruminating on the difficulty it could present to his family — Mr. Biden is particularly concerned about coverage of his son, Hunter, who is emerging from a divorce — and wondering if pursuing the nomination would be “a fool’s errand.”

Mr. Biden’s identity as a 76-year-old white moderate in a party that is increasingly young, progressive and diverse has left many Democrats, including his admirers, skeptical about his prospects.

But his would-be campaign was heartened over the weekend to see that, in a new Des Moines Register-CNN poll, 64 percent of Iowa Democratic caucusgoers indicated that they think Mr. Biden should get in the race, while just 31 percent indicated that they think his time has passed and he should not run.

On Tuesday morning, Mr. Biden received even more affirmation from an audience of loyal friends TK TK

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