How Kevin McCarthy beat Biden

While Paul Ryan is at least tentatively running for a job he never wanted, Joe Biden is not running for the job he has likely wanted since at least the Nixon administration.

It's hard to fault the vice president for his decision. He and his family are still clearly hurting from the death of his son Beau in May. It reportedly took a while to get his wife to give the thumbs-up for a 2016 campaign. And if he still had to ask whether his heart was in the right place for a presidential bid as late as this summer, no was probably the right answer.

Running for president is hard enough as it is. It is nearly impossible if everyone involved isn't all in.

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But Biden has to be considered the biggest tease in American politics. For two days in a row, he previewed some not-too-subtle contrasts with Hillary Clinton. Without mentioning her by name, he portrayed himself as more likable and capable of gaining consensus in Washington.

Biden said he didn't view Republicans as enemies, a line that could only be interpreted as a shot at Hillary's debate assertion that members of the opposition party were her proudest enemies, just yesterday. After the first paragraph, Biden's withdrawal speech sounded an awful lot like a previously prepared campaign speech.

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