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For the first time since the campaign, former Vice President Joe Biden opened up about his choice not seek the presidency and how he arrived at that decision. Furthermore, Biden says if he ran, he probably could have won the bruising primary, and he still regrets the fact that he isn’t president.

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Report from CNN:

Former Vice President Joe Biden believes he could have been elected president had he decided to run last year.

“The answer is that I had planned on running for president, and although it would’ve been a difficult primary, I think I could’ve won,” Biden said Friday during a Q&A interview at Colgate University. “I don’t know. Maybe not, but I thought I could’ve won.”

The former vice president said the deciding factor was the death of his son, Beau, who passed away after battling brain cancer in May 2015. Biden said he “lost part of his soul” when Beau died, and called him the “finest young man” he had ever known in his life.

“I don’t regret not running in the sense that it was the right decision for my boy, for me, for my family at the time,” Biden said. “But do I regret not being president? Yes.”

Biden said although he thought it would have been a difficult primary challenging Hillary Clinton, he said data showed he could have defeated President Donald Trump.

“I didn’t run because no man or woman should announce for President of the United States unless they can look the public in the eye and say, ‘I promise you I’m giving 100% of my attention and dedication to this effort,'” Biden said. “I knew I couldn’t do that.”

We’ve discussed the possibility of what a Biden candidacy would have looked like, and how he would have fared against Donald Trump. Biden has that “connection” with voters that Hillary Clinton sorely lacked. He’s able to walk in a diner and comfortably shake hands and talk to everyone from his adoring supporters to the line cook in the back, and be sincere about.

He also possess that “rust belt appeal” with his blue-collar background hailing from Scranton, Pennsylvania. In some respects, Biden would share a slice of the electorate with Trump, especially when it comes to kitchen table issues like jobs and the economy.

Furthermore, Biden has a mouth on him that could rival Trump in some instances, and he’s not afraid to bust out the punches when needed. It surely would have been a different kind of campaign if 2016 was Trump vs. Biden instead of Trump vs. Clinton. There’s a reasonable argument to be made that Democrats might have had a much better shot if they put up a candidate without the baggage attached to the Clintons.

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Nate Ashworth is the Founder and Senior Editor of Election Central. He's been blogging elections and politics for almost a decade. He started covering the 2008 Presidential Election which turned into a full-time political blog in 2012 and 2016.

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