WASHINGTON - Vice President Joe Biden is nearing a decision about whether to run for president and would focus his campaign on middle-class issues, a top Biden aide said Thursday in a letter to Biden's former staff.
Former Delaware Senator Ted Kaufman, who served as Biden's chief of staff in the Senate and is advising him on a potential 2016 campaign, told former aides that Biden will need all of their help if he decides to enter the race.
In an email obtained by The Associated Press, Kaufman said he wasn't sure whether Biden will run, but that if he does, he'll run an optimistic and unscripted "campaign from the heart."
"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 said.
Kaufman's letter to so-called "Biden alumni" appeared designed to reassure the vice president's supporters that he's still actively considering a campaign and believes he could be competitive, despite Hillary Clinton's strong performance Tuesday in the first Democratic debate.
Since the debate, top Democratic leaders have questioned whether it's too late for Biden to mount a viable campaign -- a concern Kaufman alluded to as he asked Biden loyalists interested in working for a potential campaign to "stay in touch."
"If he decides to run, we will need each and every one of you -- yesterday!" Kaufman wrote.
Support of family
In the letter, Kaufman said Biden's top consideration is the welfare and support of his family.
The vice president has said previously he's unsure he has the emotional fortitude to run following the death of his son, former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, from brain cancer in May.
"He is determined to take, and to give his family, as much time as possible to work this through," Kaufman said.