White House won’t say if Obama would back Biden in ‘16
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A top aide to President Obama on Monday praised Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenFive former Obama ambassadors back Buttigieg Report: Biden will announce 2020 bid next week The Hill's Morning Report — Mueller aftermath: What will House Dems do now? MORE's tenure as vice president but refused to say whether the president would back him should he launch a 2016 White House bid. 

“It certainly seemed to have generated some news in the last 24 hours, didn't it?” White House press secretary Josh Earnest quipped on MSNBC's “Morning Joe” about reports Biden is mulling a bid.

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“What the president has long said is that choosing Joe Biden to be his running mate was the smartest decision he'd ever made in politics,” Earnest continued. 

“And I think, even given the high expectations the president had for Vice President Biden, Vice President Biden over the last six and a half years has exceeded them,” Earnest added. 

report Saturday from New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd said that Biden was taking meetings to discuss potentially challenging Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential frontrunner. 

Her column indicated that Biden's eldest son Beau, 46, had urged his father to run for president before he died following a battle with brain cancer at the end of May.

Another report from the Times said that Biden's advisers were gauging the appetite for him to challenge Clinton, who dominates other Democrats in polls but has faced lingering questions over a variety of issues, including her use of a private email server as secretary of State.

Earnest on Monday described Joe Biden as a “champion for the middle class,” highlighting his decades of foreign policy experience and personal relationships on behalf of the Obama administration.

“If he chooses to run, he'll have a strong case to make, but we've got some other Democratic candidates in the race that also have quite a strong case to make,” Earnest said.