Delaware Sen. Joseph Biden hasn't ruled out a presidential run, but he says he's more interested in focusing on his duties as top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee even if it means he's too late to develop an effective campaign.

Biden said Thursday he may wait several months to decide whether to run for the Democratic presidential nomination. Biden said if he were to enter the race now, he would lose his ability to negotiate with Secretary of State Colin Powell and others in the Bush administration on international affairs, including an impending war with Iraq.

Biden said if he ran for president his relationship with the administration would change.

"I'm no longer the Democrat who works with Powell, the Democrat who works with this administration. I'm the Democrat who wants Powell's boss' job, and I'm not going to do that," he said. "If that means I can't be the nominee, so be it."

Biden entered the 1988 presidential race, but quit in September 1987 amid a controversy over plagiarism in his speeches. The 60-year-old lawmaker has said he'll probably decide whether to enter the race in the fall, even though political advisers say all the Democratic campaign veterans will be working for other candidates by then.

"We're 22 months away," he said. "We are so obsessed with this thing about the tactics of elections. I don't think the next person who's going to win is going to win on tactics. They are going to win on message."