PITTSBURGH — The calls of encouragement could be heard on nearly every block as Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. jogged his way through the Labor Day parade here.
There were chants from the steelworkers’ union marching behind him (“Run, Joe, run!”), shouts from onlookers (“Hope you run, Joe!”) and quiet pleas when Mr. Biden stopped long enough for a handshake, smile or selfie (“I’m sorry for your loss, and I look forward to your win,” said one man, referring to the recent death of Mr. Biden’s elder son, Beau).
But all the appeals went unanswered. The vice president, who has indicated he will decide later this month about whether to run for president, repeatedly responded with a word of thanks but no hint of what he may do.
Asked about the show of support, Mr. Biden at one point during the parade said, “It’s hope,” and later, alluding to his Scranton roots, said: “It’s home. It’s Pennsylvania.”
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It was not until after he concluded the one-and-a-half-mile route through downtown Pittsburgh on a steamy morning that he got to the heart of the matter. At the end of his second speech of the day to union members, a steelworker yelled out: “Run for president!”
“I got to talk to my wife about that,” Mr. Biden responded to the group, which was gathered in the lobby of the national United Steelworkers headquarters here.
The vice president is still wrestling with whether he and his family possess “the emotional energy,” as he put it last week, to pursue a bid. His candid self-assessment has led some in his party to conclude he is ultimately unlikely to enter the race. But for much of Monday, he seemed revived and happy to bask in the enthusiastic reception.
Mr. Biden, who first sought elected office 45 years ago, is well acquainted with the political rites of a Labor Day rally and parade. Wearing a steelworkers union baseball cap as he addressed a few hundred members before the march, the vice president recalled labor’s role in his own political …Read More