Politico softening the ground for a Biden run

I was just about to slip the secret decoder ring off my finger after reading between the lines of a New York Times story on Huma Abedin when this story from Politico by Glenn Thrush caught my eye. Coming a day and half after the startling press briefing by Josh Earnest strongly hinting presidential backing for a run for the Demcoratic nomination by Joe Biden, the article portrays a grief stricken Biden agonizing over the possibility of a presidential run. Cue the violins:

For all the breathless reporting on Biden’s every move and meeting, he is, at core, a 72-year-old man presented with an unexpected, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at one of the worst times of his life.

Several people Biden has talked to in the past month say he starts off conversations by conceding that “some days are better than others,” mixing recollections of Beau with logistical questions about mounting a state-by-state challenge to a vulnerable yet still formidable Hillary Clinton.

“He’s just not himself,” says a longtime friend of Biden’s. “He’s sort of all over the place. He’s engaged but not in that child-like, manic way he usually is. He’s taking it all in and soaking up information, but he’s hard to read. And Joe Biden isn’t usually that hard to read.”

Thrush blames all this talk of a run on Biden’s friends:

To the annoyance of the Clinton campaign, Biden’s allies have strategically leaked his modest, noncommittal doings to the media, which have given otherwise ho-hum confabs with Elizabeth Warren and President Obama’s former counsel Bob Bauer bombshell treatment (Warren, according to a person with knowledge of the interaction, offered her usual warning against bringing more Wall Street executives into the White House; the Bauer sit-down was a relatively dry give-and-take on state election laws and deadlines).

But Thrush relies on insiders to pooh-pooh the rumors:

…reports that the vice president has all but made up his mind to run are simply not true, according to a half-dozen people in his inner circle interviewed by POLITICO. “He’s not leaning one way or the other,” says one former aide who remains part of the extended Biden political family.

Well, it would look bad for Biden to appear too interested right now. As if he were capitalizing on Hillary’s troubles. Or, even worse, that President Obama shared some insider information on the FBI’s investigation of Hillary, for instance, that there is something indictable.

Others, less interested in working relationships with DC insiders than the Politico crew think Biden is going to go for it.

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