By Alexandra Jaffe - 04/03/13 01:38 PM EDT
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vice President Biden — two allies who could be 2016 rivals — shared the stage Tuesday night in Washington.
Biden was effusive in complimenting Clinton, who made her first public address since leaving Foggy Bottom at Tuesday’s Vital Voices Awards ceremony at the Kennedy Center.
Clinton returned the favor, lauding Biden's work on the Violence Against Women Act, one of his signature initiatives during his time as senator, which was reauthorized in a close vote last month.
“Vice President Biden and I have worked together on so many important issues,” Clinton said.
“One that is particularly close to his heart is the fight against domestic violence, and I know what a personal victory it was for him to see the Violence Against Women Act reauthorized last month."
Clinton is seen as the prohibitive favorite to win her party’s endorsement for president in 2016 if she chooses to run. If she doesn’t, Biden would run to the head of the pack.
A recent McClatchy-Marist poll found both Democrats beating prominent Republicans, including Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.) and Marco Rubio (Fla.) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Clinton would also narrowly beat New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, though the poll showed Biden narrowly losing to Christie.
Both Biden and Clinton ran for president in 2008 but were defeated by President Obama, the man whose cabinet they both then joined.
Clinton has stoked speculation about her intentions, releasing a video last month announcing she’d changed her position and now supports gay marriage.
And while neither Biden nor Clinton talked about 2016 on Tuesday night, the possibility hovered just outside the building in the form of a small Clinton rally organized by an unauthorized super-PAC, Ready for Hillary, backing her potential run.
A few dozen Clinton supporters and PAC staffers gathered on Tuesday night to wave "Hillary 2016" signs outside the gala. The PAC, which launched in late January and is staffed by some of her 2008 campaign supporters, is looking to raise money and organize supporters to prepare for her potential run.
Clinton’s speech Tuesday was the first of two she will give this week.
According to CNN, she'll give her first paid address in Dallas in late April, and another paid speech at the Economic Club of Grand Rapids, in Colorado in June.
Clinton has signed on with the Harry Walker Agency, which represents many prominent former public officials, including her husband, to represent her for speaking engagements.