US & Canada

Video urges Vice-President Joe Biden to make 2016 run

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Media captionGroup launches "Draft Biden" campaign

A group pushing for Joe Biden to enter the US presidential race has released its first advertisement as speculation grows that the vice-president will make a decision by the end of the month.

The spot was released by Draft Biden, a political action group not directly connected to the vice-president.

The 90-second ad mixes a speech made by Biden about overcoming personal tragedy with Biden family photos.

Called "My Redemption", it ends with the appeal: "Joe, run".

Supporters have encouraged Mr Biden to challenge fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination as Mrs Clinton's poll numbers have declined.

However, the 72-year-old Delaware native has questioned whether he has "emotional energy" to run after the death of his son Beau in May.

Others say by entering the race so late Mr Biden may not be able to rally enough financial support to mount an effective campaign.


Analysis: Anthony Zurcher, North America reporter

Image copyright Draft Biden
Image caption The Draft Biden ad is illustrated with family photos including this one of Mr Biden and his son Beau

Vice-President Joe Biden has garnered considerable good will from the US public following the death earlier this year of his son Beau of brain cancer at age 46. The Draft Biden advert, titled My Redemption, apparently seeks to capitalise on this outpouring of support, relying solely on Mr Biden's own words describing an earlier tragedy, the death of his first wife and two children, in a 1972 automobile accident.

A successful presidential campaign is based on more than sympathy, however, and the advert does little to make the case for a Biden run beyond showing him as a man touched deeply by personal loss.

If the television spot is aimed at the general public, it seems unlikely to build on the vice-president's currently high approval ratings. If it's purely designed to convince Mr Biden to run as part of his personal "redemption", Politico's Roger Simon recently offered some words of warning: "Campaigns are meat grinders. They crush; they do not mend."


Mr Biden failed in his bids for the White House in 1988 and 2008 before becoming Barack Obama's running mate.

The ad is scheduled to air this week on cable television channels in the US.

In 1972, Mr Biden's first wife and young daughter were killed in a car accident. The speech the ad uses talks about how Mr Biden coped with that loss.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Many have urged Mr Biden to run including talk show host Stephen Colbert

"The incredible bond I have with my children is the gift I'm not sure I would have had, had I not been through what I went through," Mr Biden told Yale University graduates a few weeks before his son's death. "But by focusing on my sons, I found my redemption."

The video has garnered strong interest on social media but has been criticised by one of Mr Biden's political allies.

"Am I alone in finding this Draft Biden ad tasteless? It's powerful, but exploitative. Can't believe he'd approve," tweeted David Axelrod, a former top adviser to President Barack Obama.