Joe Biden's private meeting with Elizabeth Warren fuels 2016 speculation

Vice president's meeting with the progressive hero signals he's serious about White House run

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published August 24, 2015 1:43PM (EDT)

Elizabeth Warren            (AP/Susan Walsh)
Elizabeth Warren (AP/Susan Walsh)

Amidst 2016 speculation, Vice President Joe Biden held a surprise private meeting with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren this weekend, a Biden aide confirmed to CNN.

Biden, who boarded his beloved Amtrak for the trek from Delaware, and Warren, who flew in from Massachusetts, met Saturday at Biden's Washington, D.C. residency -- the Naval Observatory -- for an unscheduled meeting. The private lunch was not previously on Biden's official schedule, which showed him staying at his Delaware residence all weekend. The two reportedly discussed economic policy, campaign finance and foreign policy for the nearly two hour meeting, which fueled speculation that Biden may seek Warren's support or even tap her as a running mate.

NBC reported that Biden and Warren "directly discussed both parties' primaries" and although Biden did not directly ask for Warren's endorsement, he did make it clear that he was "seriously considering" a White House bid. And the Wall Street Journal reports that Biden is increasingly leaning towards a run if he can mount a competitive bid. His entrance into the 2016 campaign would expand the Democratic field to six contenders and  national polls show Biden would have significant support from Democratic voters.

On Sunday, Warren sat for an interview with WBZ-TV’s Jon Keller where the popular progressive made clear that she was not yet committed to any particular Democratic candidate. “I don’t think anyone has been anointed,” Warren said in response to a question about Hillary Clinton's standing as a prohibitive frontrunner. Warren, who has not yet endorsed a candidate, was also hesitant to commit to her own reelection bid, calling it "too early" to discuss. “What I will say is, I’m committed to getting up every single day and fighting for the families who sent me,” Warren said:

WARREN: What I’m doing is I’m fighting for the families who are there in Massachusetts, the families who sent me

KELLER: So you don’t want to answer that question?

WARREN: I don’t want to answer that question

Biden previously ran for the White House in 1988 and 2008 but failed to get past the Democratic primaries. Biden aides have long said that if Biden did decide to enter the race, he would make the decision before the end of the summer. The first Democratic primary debate is not until October 13 and last week, the pro-Biden super PAC Draft Biden 2016 signed up longtime Democratic strategist Steve Schale, who helped President Obama win Florida in 2008 and 2012.

Josh Alcorn, a senior adviser for Draft Biden 2016, said the vice president was "sounding out people in early (primary election) states, activists and potential supporters."

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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