if need be
December 11, 2019

Following a report that former Vice President Joe Biden is signaling he'd likely not run for re-election in 2024, Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) suggests that's not true — but there's a curious caveat.

Politico on Wednesday reported that Biden has been signaling to aides that he'd only serve one term if elected president. His deputy campaign manager and communications director, Kate Bedingfield, responded to the report by saying "this is not a conversation our campaign is having and not something VP Biden is thinking about."

Coons, who has endorsed Biden, also responded by saying "just the opposite" is true and that Biden "has made it clear to me that he is ready and able and willing to serve two terms if necessary," per CBS News' Alan He.

Readers immediately took note of this "if necessary" asterisk, which is similar to a quote from a Biden adviser in the Politico report suggesting the former vice president's thinking is, "I want to find a running mate I can turn things over to after four years but if that's not possible or doesn't happen then I'll run for re-election."

Coons says he has "not had a specific conversation with [Biden] about serving one or two terms," per Politico's Burgess Everett, but that he's sure Biden would be "able" to run again "if at the end of his first term the country is still in a place that called for his leadership."

Politico also noted that Biden suggested to The Associated Press in October he wasn't necessarily committed to seeking a second term, and the reporter who asked him that question weighed in on Wednesday. "I can assure you. Biden told me - on the record - he would not commit to two terms," AP's Meg Kinnard tweeted. "And I didn't come up with the question out of thin air." Brendan Morrow

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