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Friday
Oct162015

Joe Biden Aide Sends Letter Detailing Vice President's Looming 2016 Decision

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — In a letter sent to former staffers Thursday, one of Vice President Joe Biden's closest confidants explained Biden is approaching a decision about 2016 and detailed what a potential presidential campaign might entail.

Former Delaware Senator Ted Kaufman, one of Biden’s oldest friends and long time advisors, wrote a letter to former Biden staffers Thursday indicating the vice president is "aware of the practical demands of making a final decision soon" and describing how the vice president would run an "optimistic campaign" focusing on reviving the middle class.

“If he runs, he will run because of his burning conviction that we need to fundamentally change the balance in our economy and the political structure to restore the ability of the middle class to get ahead,” Kaufman wrote.

“What kind of campaign? An optimistic campaign. A campaign from the heart. A campaign consistent with his values, our values, and the values of the American people. And I think it's fair to say, knowing him as we all do, that it won't be a scripted affair -- after all, it's Joe,” he wrote.

The letter, now obtained by ABC News, is the most public signal yet from Biden’s inner sanctum about the status of the vice president’s deliberations. Kaufman is part of the small, tight-knit group advising the vice president about 2016.

Kaufman told the former staffers the vice president would quickly need their help should he mount a presidential bid.

“If he decides to run, we will need each and every one of you – yesterday!,” Kaufman wrote.

In the letter to Biden alumni, Kaufman directly tied the vice president to President Obama, saying “everything he and the President have worked for – and care about – is at stake,” in this election.

Still weighing largely on the vice president’s decision making process are concerns for his family as they continue to grapple with the death of his son Beau in May.

The calls for the vice president to decide if he'll enter the 2016 race have risen since the first Democratic debate earlier this week. Some of that pressure has come from the campaign of his potential opponent, Hillary Clinton.

"It's time for him to make his decision if he wants to enter the Democratic race," John Podesta, Hillary Clinton's national campaign chairman said Wednesday.

Logistical hurdles for launching a presidential campaign are quickly approaching, as filing deadlines to gain access on ballots in primary and caucus states begin at the end of the month.

Read the full letter below:

Dear friend,
 
A lot of you are being asked, and have asked me, about the direction and timing of the Vice President's thinking about a run for President.  On the second question - timing - I can't add much, except I am confident that the Vice President is aware of the practical demands of making a final decision soon.  He has been in public and political life a long time and he has a good grip on the mechanics around this decision.
 
But on the first question, I know him well, and have spoken with him extensively about this issue.  It will not surprise you, as it does not surprise me, what he will weigh in the decision and what - being Joe Biden - he will not.
 
All of you know well that the first and foremost consideration will be the welfare and support of his family.  That's Joe Biden.  He has been clear about this and it is as true today as it has been for the past several months.  He is determined to take, and to give his family, as much time as possible to work this through.
 
But then the question is what kind of Presidential campaign he believes he would run, and what kind of President he believes he can be.  If he runs, he will run because of his burning conviction that we need to fundamentally change the balance in our economy and the political structure to restore the ability of the middle class to get ahead.  And whether we can a political consensus in America to get it done
 
And what kind of campaign?  An optimistic campaign. A campaign from the heart. A campaign consistent with his values, our values, and the values of the American people. And I think it's fair to say, knowing him as we all do, that it won't be a scripted affair-- after all, it's Joe.
 
He believes we must win this election. Everything he and the President have worked for – and care about – is at stake.
 
I know in the daily ups and down of the political swirl, we all get bombarded with the tactics. So sometimes it’s good to take a step back and get real again. Let’s stay in touch. If he decides to run, we will need each and every one of you – yesterday!

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