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Biden 'not ready' to decide on presidential run

David Shepardson
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington — Vice President Joe Biden said he had not made a decision on whether he will run for president and sounded the alarm about Republican plans to cut estate taxes.

Biden made the statement in a roundtable discussion with reporters at the White House Monday including The Detroit News a day after former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced her run for the Democratic nomination. He said he has plenty of time to decide.

"I haven't made up my mind on that. I have plenty of time to do that, in my view," Biden said. "If I am wrong, I'm dead wrong, but there's a lot the president and I care about that has to get done in the next two, three months and when you run for president you've got to run for president — and I'm not ready to do that — if I am ever going to be ready to do that."

Biden joked: "I'm announcing today that (Sen. Marco) Rubio and I are going to run together" — referring to the Florida Republican senator who said he is running for the Republican nomination.

The vice president didn't mention Clinton by name.

"We're not punishing anybody," Biden said in explaining proposals to hike taxes on some wealthy Americans and add a fee on large financial institutions to raise funds and discourage risk taking.

Congressional Republicans have repeatedly said they will not hike taxes on the wealthy and want to encourage economic growth by cutting taxes.

"I don't have any problem with hedge funds guys and women who make a lot of money. I just wish my daughter had decided to do that instead of being social worker," Biden joked. "Then when they put me in a home, I'd have a room with a view."

Biden said it is unlikely the Obama administration could reach a big overarching deal with the Republicans, but said progress could still be made on tax reform, trade and other important issues.

"This is not your father's Republican party," he said. "We need to be able to sit across the table from someone who — and they are trying like the devil — who can actually make a deal and deliver for their party."

Biden said the administration needs to "make it clear what we are for" even if doesn't reach some deals in the remainder of the term.

The White House invited regional newspaper reporters to a discussion on tax policies, and Biden made an unannounced appearance, where he spoke and took questions for more than 40 minutes — as aides tried to get him to wrap up at several points.

The White House is making a concerted effort to raise concerns about the cost of ending the inheritance tax that the Republican Congress is considering voting to abolish, which would cost the Treasury an estimated $270 billion over a decade.

Biden also urged Congress to do more to boost U.S. infrastructure. The administration has proposed a six-year, $478 billion surface transportation bill. He said the U.S. was No. 26 in the world in infrastructure.

"We're begging. It used to be a bipartisan deal," Biden said.

He criticized Republican plans to cut college aid, education funding and make other cuts that he said would hurt families.

dshepardson@detroitnews.com