Vice President Joe Biden reportedly was the one who during an interview shared details about his son Beau's dying wish that he take one more run at the White House, telling his father "that the country would be better off with Biden values."
Politico, citing "multiple sources," reported Tuesday that the vice president was in fact the source of the intimate details in an Aug. 1 New York Times column by Maureen Dowd that effectively kicked off the now-frenzied speculation about Biden's 2016 plans.
In the column, Dowd described an emotional scene where a dying Beau Biden spoke to his father for one of the last times.
"He tried to make his father promise to run, arguing that the White House should not revert to the Clintons and that the country would be better off with Biden values," the article said.
According to Politico, the scene was relayed by Biden himself.
The vice president's office, though, pushed back strongly on the report.
"The bottom line on the Politico story is that it is categorically false and the characterization is offensive," a spokesperson for the vice president said.
The supposed backstory behind the article that helped galvanize a campaign-in-waiting for Biden emerges as the vice president now faces mounting pressure to make his decision - and soon.
He's already expected to miss the first Democratic primary debate, set for Oct. 13, and faces looming deadlines to file for key state contests.
Meanwhile, front-runner Hillary Clinton has been cranking up her tone in recent days, going on offense against Republicans investigating her role during and after the Benghazi terror attacks and her personal email use.
In a town hall event in New Hampshire on Monday, Clinton accused Republicans of exploiting the 2012 terror attack to go after her politically.
And her campaign launched a new national ad on Tuesday hitting a similar theme. The 30-second ad features comments from House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy -- the leading candidate for House speaker -- on the Benghazi committee that have fueled Democratic claims the panel is political.
The ad features McCarthy telling Fox News last week: "Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her [poll] numbers today?"
After McCarthy's remarks, an ad narrator says, "The Republicans have spent millions attacking Hillary because she's fighting for everything they oppose ... from affordable health care ... to equal pay, she'll never stop fighting for you and the Republicans know it."
The ad comes as Clinton prepares to testify Oct. 22 before the committee.
In a statement on Tuesday, McCarthy defended the panel.
"The mission of the Select Committee on Benghazi is to find the truth -- Period," he said. "The integrity of Chairman Gowdy, the Committee and the work they've accomplished is beyond reproach. The serious questions Secretary Clinton faces are due entirely to her own decision to put classified information at risk and endanger our national security."
McCarthy, who is trying to replace the retiring Boehner as speaker, has since backed off his initial remarks, saying he "never meant to imply" the Benghazi committee's investigation was politically motivated.
Even as a non-candidate, Biden is pulling about 19 percent in an average of recent national polls, according to RealClearPolitics.
Clinton is at just over 41 percent, while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is at 25 percent.