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Ending months of speculation, Vice President Joe Biden announced that he will not be seeking the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. He was flanked by his wife Jill Biden and President Barack Obama.

“As the family and I have worked through the grieving process, I’ve said all along what I’ve said time and again to others that it may very well be that that process, by the time we get through it, closes the window on mounting a realistic campaign for president. I’ve concluded it has closed.

While only a small circle of people knew the answer to the question as the family grieved over the loss of his son Beau Biden, a nation was on tenterhooks waiting for the vice president to make the announcement that could have redefined his political legacy. He had run for office twice before.

A run threatened to throw a wrench in plans by Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton to become the first female president of the United States, and second runner-up Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who could advance further than any Jewish candidate for president.

Both are polling well and drawing large crowds at political events. A CNN/ORC poll released Monday shows that Clinton stands at 45 percent in the race, Sanders 29 percent, and Biden 18 percent.

Immediately after the vice president spoke, Draft Biden, the super Pac started in the spring to encourage a run, tweeted a statement.

Biden’s speech mostly centered on continuing the work started by the Obama administration and unifying the country and a fractured Congress. And in a comment perceived as a swipe at Clinton, who last week described Republicans as her enemy when asked the question at the first Democratic debate, he urged leaders to work together.

“I believe that we have to end the divisive partisan politics that is ripping this country apart,” he said. “And I think we can. It’s mean spirited, it’s petty, and it’s gone on for much too long. I don’t believe, like some do, that it’s naive to talk to Republicans. I don’t think we should look at Republicans as our enemies. They are our opposition. They’re not our enemies. And for the sake of the country, we have to work together.”

Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, released a statement saying that Biden’s decision to not seek the Democratic presidential nomination increases his party’s chances of winning the White House.

“The Vice President’s decision not to enter the 2016 race is a major blow for Democrats, who now will almost certainly be saddled with their unpopular and scandal plagued front-runner Hillary Clinton,” said Chairman Priebus. “Vice President Biden was the most formidable general election candidate the Democrat Party could have fielded, and his decision not to challenge Hillary Clinton greatly improves our chances of taking back the White House. With each revelation about her growing email scandal or conflicts of interest at her State Department, Hillary Clinton is getting more beatable by the day.”

Meanwhile, the message to end political divisiveness appears cut across party lines. As Republican Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan weighs a bid to become House speaker, he told colleagues that he would take the job “if he could be assured that the caucus would unite behind him,” reports the Washington Post.

Did Biden’s decision surprise you? And do you think congressional leaders will be able to set aside their differences to unite and run the government?

SOURCE: CNN/ORC poll, Washington Post | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty

Watch Roland Martin and the NewsOne Now panel discuss what Vice President Biden’s decision not to run for president means for the current crop of Democratic presidential candidates in the video clip below.

TV One’s NewsOne Now has moved to 7 A.M. ET, be sure to watch “NewsOne Now” with Roland Martin, in its new time slot on TV One.



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