Race for 2016: The Biden Factor

FRIENDS AND ASSOCIATES OF VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN SAY THEY ARE ALL BUT CERTAIN HE WON'T RUN AGAINST HILLARY CLINTON IF SHE DOES IN FACT DECIDE TO RUN IN 2016. 
 
POLLS SHOW THE FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE AS THE CLEAR FRONTRUNNER ON THE ROAD TO THE 2016 DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION, BUT PARTY ANGST ABOUT THE CLINTON JUGGERNAUT COULD PAVE THE WAY FOR AN ENTIRE FIELD OF ALTERNATES --INCLUDING MASSACHUSETTES SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN, MARYLAND GOVERNOR MARTIN O'MALLEY, NEW YORK GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO, AND VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN. 
 
TRADITIONALLY IN AMERICAN POLITICS IF THE PRESIDENT IS NOT RUNNING AND THE VICE PRESIDENT WANTS THE PARTY NOMINATION IT IS HIS FOR THE TAKING. FORMER VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY OPTED NOT TO RUN IN 2008 BUT STILL REMAINS A KEY FIGURE IN THE POLITICAL ARENA. 
 
AT SEVENTY ONE, BIDEN IS FIVE YEARS OLDER THAN HILLARY. HE HAS ALSO RUN FOR PRESIDENT TWICE BEFORE, FIRST IN 1988 WHEN HE DROPPED OUT FOLLOWING PLAGIARISM ALLEGATIONS AND AGAIN IN 2008 WHEN DESPITE NOTABLE ENDORESMENTS HE WITHDREW FROM THE RACE AFTER CAPTURING LESS THAN 1% OF THE VOTE IN THE IOWA CAUCUSES.  
 
A BIDEN RUN MAY NOT BE APPEALING ON THE LEFT--ANXIOUS TO BREAK ANOTHER BARRIER.