Allies: Biden decision won't be affected by Clinton debate performance

Story highlights

  • Joe Biden supporters say he has not lost interest in a presidential run, despite patience running short for some Democrats
  • A senior Democrat close to Biden said the outcome of the debate was far from a driving factor in his ultimate decision, but rather another guidepost
  • Two people close to the vice president say that the key factor in the decision is whether Biden would forever regret not running if he chose to sit out the race

Las Vegas, Nevada (CNN)The patience among some Democrats may be running short, but top supporters of Joe Biden insist that doesn't mean he has lost interest in fulfilling a lifelong quest to be president.

It's another question how long the door will remain open to joining the race.
The vice president watched the first Democratic debate Tuesday night from his home in Washington, witnessing a commanding performance from Hillary Clinton.
    A senior Democrat close to Biden said the outcome of the debate was far from a driving factor in his ultimate decision, but rather another guidepost as he closes in on the feasibility of jumping into the 2016 presidential campaign.
    A team of Democratic operatives is still waiting in the wings for Biden to send a signal that he's interested in launching a candidacy. These Democrats have not been advised that Biden was retreating from his desire to join the race, even though they were uncertain he would pull the trigger.
    But several top Democrats supporting Clinton said time was running out for Biden to make a decision. Some party leaders worried that Biden's exploration of a candidacy would be an unwelcome distraction.
    John Podesta, chairman of the Clinton campaign, said Wednesday that Biden needed to come to a decision soon about whether he wants to jump into the race. He told CNN that Clinton "crushed it" in her debate performance, which should send the message to Democrats that the presidential field is set.
    Podesta said he did not know whether Biden would run, but said it was time for Democrats to move beyond this period of speculation and focus on electing the party's strongest nominee to run against Republicans.
    Two people close to Biden, speaking on condition of anonymity to avoid alienating the vice president, said the conventional wisdom that Clinton's strong debate performance would keep him out of the race is wrong. The key factor in the decision, they say, is whether Biden would forever regret not running if he chose to sit out the race.
    The moment is looming for Biden to make his plans known, with the first deadline coming up Oct. 29 to qualify for the ballot in Georgia. Several others states have ballot deadlines in November.
    Josh Alcorn, a senior adviser to the Draft Biden movement, said Wednesday the door had not closed to the prospect of a presidential campaign. He said unifying Democrats would not be a problem, but it was important for the party to put forward the most competitive nominee for the general election.
    "There's still time for Joe Biden," Alcorn told CNN. "The vision for America that he has is something that would be welcomed in the presidential race."