President Joe Biden said Thursday he’s simply not ready to decide whether to run for reelection, even as he dismissed polls showing a majority of Democrats want another candidate in 2024.
“I’m just not ready to make it,” Biden told Telemundo when asked in an interview what was stopping him from deciding on another run.
Biden said the day after the November midterms that he “intended” to run again, barring any unforeseen episode. And he and his family have signaled to others – including in early December to the visiting French President Emmanuel Macron – that they are preparing for a run.
Biden’s reluctance to definitively announce his intentions is in part driven by a desire to avoid triggering compliance with candidate election laws. Advisers, however, note that when Biden says he’s a “great respecter of fate,” it’s less of a dodge than it would appear.
It’s largely expected that the president will formally announce a reelection run some time in the weeks and months after Tuesday’s State of the Union, which was seen as a preview of what his message would be as he asks voters for a second term.
Biden said there was “no” motive behind him stopping short of an announcement. And he said surveys showing many Democrats eager for another candidate were flawed.
“That’s not what I hear,” he said. “Look, do you know any polling that’s accurate these days? You all told me that there was no way we were going to do well in this off-year election. I told you from the beginning we’re going to do well. Y’all told me I couldn’t win the general election. We did well. I feel good about where we are.”
An ABC/Washington Post poll released this weekend showed 58% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents said they would prefer a candidate other than Biden next year.
Biden said he felt good about the position within his party.
“I feel good about the way things are, and I feel good about the reception I get,” he said. “And I think it’s awfully difficult to poll these days.”
Still, he acknowledged the outcome of the 2024 race was unknowable.
“It may be that, you know, I run, I get clobbered, and if I run, I win. I mean, that’s not my motive. That’s not the basis upon which I make the judgment,” he said.
Speaking after an event in Florida, Biden said he didn’t view a difference between the state’s two likely Republican presidential contenders, former President Donald Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“I think that they have a similar modus operandi, a similar way in which they work. But I really don’t know. I’ve never decided to run or not run based on who the opponent will be,” he said.