Politics

Joe Biden and Others Who Coulda Been a Contender

The vice president says in interview he would have been the best president

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said that if he had run, he would have been the best president.  

Biden notoriously flirted with a presidential run in 2016 but ultimately decided against it in the wake of his son Beau's death from cancer.  

"It's an awful thing to say, I think I would have been the best president," Biden said  in an interview with “Good Morning America” that aired Wednesday. "No one should ever seek the presidency unless they're able to devote their whole heart and soul and passion into just doing that."  

Of course, Biden had thrown his hat in the ring before —  in 1988, when he was accused of plagiarizing  parts of a speech, and in 2008, when he failed to gain any traction in light of the historic candidacies of Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Obama later chose Biden as his running mate.  

The vice president's comments follow a long line of candidates who have spoken openly about regretting (or not regretting) running at the right time.

Jeb! said 2012 was his time

   

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said he likely should have run for president in 2012. (Meredith Dake-O'Connor/CQ Roll Call)
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said he likely should have run for president in 2012. (Meredith Dake-O'Connor/CQ Roll Call)

No candidate in 2016 flamed out after so much hype as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. After being flush with cash and leading in the polls, he was ultimately decimated after constant attacks by Donald Trump.  

However, in the past, former President George W. Bush's wife, Laura, said  in 2012 the two wanted the younger Bush brother to run then.  

In addition, in a 2012 interview  with CBS, the former Florida governor said he likely should have run that year.  

"I think there's a window of opportunity in life and for all sorts of reasons, this was probably my year," he said.  

Ultimately, with his brother's presidency still unpopular in the public eye, Bush passed on a run in 2012 and in 2016, dropped out after the South Carolina primary.

Elizabeth Warren prefers the Senate

   

Nothing inspired progressive fever dreams than a potential candidacy by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Despite several groups pushing  for her to run, Warren passed.  

In an interview with the senator in March, late night host Stephen Colbert remarked that she was a "combo platter" between Sen. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton and asked if she regretted not running.   

"Every single day, I get out there and do what the people of Massachusetts send me to do," she said. "God, this a fabulous job, who could ask for more?"  

Still, Warren's influence has been felt in the election. She declined to endorse either Sanders or Clinton after the Massachusetts primary and met  with Biden when he was weighing a 2016 run.

Chris Christie said he wasn't ready in 2012

 

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said he was not ready to run for president in 2012. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said he was not ready to run for president in 2012. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Many Republicans dissatisfied with the field in the 2012 election had pinned their hopes on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. But Christie would pass on running that year, saying it was "not my time."  

By the the time Christie did run in 2016, he was plagued by questions surrounding the traffic jam scandal on the George Washington Bridge and conservatives never truly forgave him for his embrace of President Barack Obama in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.  

Still, Christie said  in an interview that he didn't regret his decision to skip a 2012 run.  

"'Cause I wasn’t ready," he said. "And in the end, remember something: Everything that everybody said back in 2011 about me running in 2012 was all theoretical. It was all based on the inherent assumption of ‘He’ll do well if he performs well.’"  

Christie dropped out after the New Hampshire primary in February and soon endorsed Trump.  

Contact Garcia at EricGarcia@cqrollcall.com and follow him on Twitter at @EricMGarcia Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.