NEWARK, Del. — If Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., decides to run for president in 2016, Sen. Chris Coons is ready to hit the campaign trail.
"I enthusiastically would support the vice president if he were to run for president. I volunteered for him in Iowa in 2008 and would be honored to do it again," Coons told CQ Roll Call. "I think he is our nation's strongest voice for the middle class, and our most seasoned and senior leader in foreign policy and national security."
Coons and Biden have spoken recently, and the vice president played a significant role in convincing Coons, who holds Biden's old seat, to back the P5+1 agreement restricting Iran's nuclear development.
"The vice president has been very respectful of my role as a senator and has been clear, repeatedly, that my decisions are mine and mine alone. He was very helpful in providing advice and making sure I got access and answers in areas where I was troubled," Coons told reporters after a Tuesday speech at the University of Delaware.
Coons announced his support for the Iran agreement Tuesday, becoming the 33rd member of the Senate Democratic caucus to do so.
"The vice president, whom I trust on these issues and who I think has been an unshakable friend of Israel for his entire political career — I relied on his guidance on to whom I should go in the administration," Coons said. "But, my vote is my vote and I'm responsible for it."
Coons said he pondered delaying Tuesday's speech while at home Monday evening, before he received a four-page letter from President Barack Obama on the enforcement provisions in the Iran deal, as well as assurances that the U.S. would retain the ability to apply pressure on the Islamic republic if needed. The letter was, in part, Obama's response to conversations between Coons and the vice president.
As for what Biden will ultimately decide about the presidential bid, Coons said it's come up in recent conversations, but that the vice president has not yet made a decision.
"I also know him to be a man who is deeply grieving, and [he] deserves the time to come to whatever decision is in his best interest and his family's best interest," Coons told CQ Roll Call. "When we've spoken recently, he is seriously weighing whether this is the right thing for him and for the country."
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