By Justin Sink - 07/21/14 09:00 AM EDT
Vice President Biden would be “a superb president,” President Obama said in an interview published Monday.
“He has seen the job up close, he knows what the job entails,” Obama told The New Yorker.
But, the president said, “you have to have that fire in the belly, which is a question that only Joe can answer himself.”
The question for both Biden and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Obama said, is whether they actually want to run for president, something he described as a “pretty undignifying process.”
In May, Obama said Clinton would be a "very effective" president.
“I think that, for both Joe and for Hillary, they’ve already accomplished an awful lot in their lives,” Obama said. “The question is, do they, at this phase in their lives, want to go through the pretty undignifying process of running all over again.”
The president’s interview was included in a broader profile of Biden featured in this week’s issue of the magazine.
Obama added he was “very grateful” that Biden had “not let that question infect our relationship or how he has operated as Vice-President.”
“He continues to be extraordinarily loyal. He continues to take on big assignments that may not have a huge political upside,” the president continued, pointing to Biden’s recent trip to Ukraine as an important diplomatic moment for the administration.
“World leaders can transmit directly to him their thoughts about how we proceed. That’s not necessarily helping him in Iowa.”
Biden openly flirts with the prospect of a presidential run during his interviews for the profile. He says the primary factors he will consider are his chances, ability to organize and the support of his family.
Clinton is seen as the favorite for the 2016 Democratic nomination if she chooses to run. Both Biden and Clinton were beaten by Obama in the 2008 race.
The vice president said he could not wait to debate foreign policy criticism levied by former Defense Secretary Bob Gates “either in a Presidential campaign or when I’m out of here.”
And Biden says no matter what his decision, he plans to travel to early voting primary states to support Democratic candidates.
“I’m going to be in Iowa, I’m going to be in New Hampshire, I’m going to be in Nevada, I’m going to be in all those early states. Not by design. They’re the toughest races!”