Biden decision leaves both parties in disarray

Joe Biden has made it official: He is not running for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. It's the latest development in a presidential campaign cycle that has not been going according to script.

Biden said that personal factors played a part in his decision. At a time when few children die before their parents, he has had to endure the grief of losing two of his four children — his daughter Naomi in December 1972, his son Beau last May. "There's no timetable for this process," he said in announcing his decision Oct. 21.

But it also has to be said that the voters this year don't seem to be putting a high value on Biden's greatest strength: experience, 36 years in the Senate, seven as vice president.

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We have seen that in the Republican withdrawals. Rick Perry, who served 14 years as governor of Texas, withdrew Sept. 11. Scott Walker, who has served five years as governor of Wisconsin and eight as Milwaukee County executive, withdrew Sept. 21.

And Jim Webb withdrew, at least from the Democratic race, on Oct. 20, a day before Biden. His experience includes Marine service for which he was awarded the Navy Cross, writing acclaimed novels, and serving as Ronald Reagan's Navy secretary and senator from Virginia, the state which voted closest to the national average in the last two presidential elections.

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