Report: Biden to skip first Dem debate
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Vice President Biden is not expected to participate in the first Democratic presidential debate on October 13, CNN reported Thursday, a sign he is delaying his decision whether to jump into the 2016 race.

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Biden is not preparing for the debate, which will take place in Las Vegas, according to several Democrats who spoke to CNN. Instead, the vice president is likely to announce his 2016 plans in the second half of October.

Should Biden skip the debate, it would further fuel speculation about one of the biggest unknown factors in the Democratic presidential primary.

Many Democrats are hungry to see Biden challenge Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, worried that the controversy surrounding her use of a private email server as secretary of State has permanently damaged her campaign.

A senior adviser to the Draft Biden super-PAC, Josh Alcorn, publicly urged Biden to participate in the debate earlier this month.

“I think the important thing is that he is on the debate stage in October,” he said on MSNBC.

The media also appears eager to see a competitive race between Biden and Clinton. CNN shaped its debate rules to allow Biden to participate.

The vice president has been weighing a presidential bid for months, talking to family members, close advisers and political leaders across the country. He has road tested his message on domestic and foreign policy issues in Democratic strongholds such as New York and California and swing states such as Ohio.

But Biden has repeatedly said he is in no rush to make a decision. He has said that family concerns, and not the political calendar, will be the number-one factor dictating his choice.

Biden and his family are still mourning the death of his son, Beau, who died from brain cancer in late May.

"It's just not there yet and it may not get there in time to make it feasible to be able to run and succeed, because there are certain windows that will close," Biden said in a recent interview with America magazine, a Catholic news organization. "But if that's it, that's it. It's not like I can rush it."