(CNN) – The fight for the Democratic presidential nomination could get a lot more complicated.
Hillary Clinton has been the front-runner so far, but now Vice President Joe Biden is thinking seriously about getting into the race. And a senior Democratic source says Biden’s got his boss’s blessing.
Paying his respects, Vice President Biden in Cleveland Tuesday for the funeral of longtime Democratic congressman Louis Stokes.
Not a word of politics spoken on this trip. But the “unspoken” fact was that but not overlooked was the fact that Biden was making an appearance in one of three critical swing states, where he outperformed Hillary Clinton in theoretical matchups against Republican frontrunner Donald Trump.
Florida is another such swing state where a recent Quinnipiac poll showed he would win, while Clinton would lose. And Biden has a trip planned to the Sunshine State too.
Invitations are already out for a September second visit to Miami at a fundraiser for Democratic senator Bill Nelson, who said in an interview with Florida station WTSP that a Biden run is contingent on the strength of the Democratic front runner. Nelson said, “My sense is, Vice President Biden will take a look at it, but he won’t get in the race unless Hillary gets in trouble.”
But polls of Democratic primary voters still show Hillary Clinton with big leads.
There’s also a gender question. Democratic insiders say one problem for Biden is that his jumping into the race could be seen as a slap in the face to Democratic supporters and fundraisers who are focused on electing the first woman president.
The Vice President’s exploratory meetings with senior Democrats are expected to continue over the next weeks.
Monday night, he met with Obama administration heavyweights Bob Bauer and Anita Dunn; he, the former White House counsel, she the former Communications Director.
A senior Democratic source tells CNN that President Obama gave Biden his blessing to run on Monday.
In the coming days and weeks, Biden is also expected to meet with fundraisers, donors and others before he makes a decision.
His wife Jill is said to be conflicted, according to one source, with the characteristic reticence of a political spouse about making the jump into a national campaign. Friends and former aides of Biden say running for president is still an open question, because his family is still in mourning after the death of his son in May.
Sources have said Biden has privately expressed concern, not about Hillary Clinton’s email problems, but more about her ability promote the issue of income equality in the campaign.
The Vice President’s office is downplaying the guesswork about Biden’s future. A spokeswoman said sources are speculating about something they know nothing about.
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