Vice President Joe Biden, the man who lost the first Democratic debate among 2016 presidential candidates, was not even on stage in Las Vegas Oct. 13.
Instead, he could see on TV that front-runners Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders provided crowd-pleasing performances that showed their polish, poise and passion.
Sanders also helped Clinton by declining, as did President Obama in a CBS interview Sunday, to pile on to the controversies surrounding her private email server and the Benghazi death in 2012 of former U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
That tends to foreclose an opening for Biden, who has been postponing a decision on whether to enter the race following last spring’s death of his son, Delaware Attorney Gen. Beau Biden.
Although the vice president would immediately vault to the top three or two position in the Democratic race behind Clinton if he announced a campaign, according to polls, he faces serious practical and messaging problems if he did so or if he delays any longer.
Three other candidates on stage seemed to help themselves with national exposure in the largest Democrat venue so far. But former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, former Rhode Island Sen. Lincoln Chaffee and former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb were each polling at less than one percent. So they would still be marginal even with a major boost from the debate.