Vice President Joe Biden is still very much considering a bid for the White House, people close to Biden say, and will make a final decision at the end of the summer, targeted for September.
The Iowa caucuses are scheduled for early February, meaning Biden would have roughly four months to barnstorm the first-in-the-nation state before the contest turned to New Hampshire.
Front-runner Hillary Clinton has faced a surprisingly tough challenge from democratic socialist Bernie Sanders, who is within striking distance in Iowa despite not being registered as a Democrat and trailing far behind in establishment support. Sanders' surge suggests Clinton could be once again beatable in a Democratic primary.
While Biden is seriously considering the bid, he has by no means decided to pull the trigger.
"He has said he would announce his decision at the end of the summer," said Ted Kaufman, a former Democratic senator from Delaware and longtime aide to Biden, when asked about Biden's plans. Kaufman recently went back to work for the vice president in the months preceding Beau Biden’s death so that he could help his old boss and friend through the unspeakably difficult time.
The vice president’s press secretary, Kendra A. Barkoff, denounced the speculation, but kept the door ajar. "The Biden family is going through a difficult time right now,” said Barkoff. “Any speculation about the views of the vice president or his family about his political future is premature and inappropriate."
The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Biden’s late son, Beau Biden, who the vice president has called "my soul," had urged him to run for president before he died. His son Hunter has also encouraged him to enter the race.
Though he is undeclared, Biden is polling at slightly above 10 percent nationally, trailing both Sanders and Clinton.