By Justin Sink
Vice President Biden repeatedly insisted Tuesday's visit to New Hampshire was to promote job training, not a potential presidential run.
"The reason we're here, notwithstanding what others may think, is because you run the best outfit in the country," Biden told New Hampshire governor Maggie Hassan (D) at a Nashua jobs training center.
New Hampshire holds the nation's first presidential primary and Biden's visit has fueled speculation for a 2016 bid.
At an earlier stop at at a local business that hires workers who have completed the state's job training initiative, the vice president told reporters he was "here about jobs, not mine."
During an interview with "The View" last month, Biden said he "truly haven't made up my mind" about running — while touting his credentials.
"I think my knowledge of foreign policy, my engagement of world leaders, my experience uniquely positions me to follow through on the agenda Barack and I have of bringing world peace that is real and substantive," Biden said.
But in New Hampshire on Tuesday, the vice president looked to stay focused on his economic policy messaging. In President Obama's State of the Union address, he tasked Biden with reviewing American job training programs to make sure they were properly preparing workers.
At his first stop, Biden met with staff and trainees working for XMA Corporatation's on-the-job training program. He then visited a New Hampshire Works jobs center, where unemployed workers can go to enroll in training programs or for help finding a job.
Biden heralded the jobs center as an "emergency room" for those "devastated" by the recession. He said they helped "widen the aperture to the middle class" and served as a "central catalyst to the communities they serve."
But while Biden sought to steer clear of politics, operatives back in Washington seized on his visit.
The Republican National Committee pointed out Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), who is running for reelection, did not join the vice president on the trip, suggesting a rift between the senator and White House.
The move earned rebuke from the Democratic National Committee, who accused the RNC of attacking Shaheen "for doing her job."
"She is in Washington to chair an Appropriations subcommittee hearing – a responsibility she has as a duly elected U.S. Senator from New Hampshire," said DNC spokesperson Lily Adams. "When you win elections, you have a job to do. That’s how this works."
"We’ve seen inane attacks before, but the RNC is setting the bar even lower with this latest hit," she added.