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Democratic senator says Biden 'all but certain' he'll run in 2020

CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports.

Posted: Mar 13, 2019 8:07 AM

Joe Biden has indicated it is "all but certain" he'll run in 2020, Sen. Chris Coons said Wednesday.

"I'm optimistic he's going to run for president. I'm actually confident he's going to run for president. He's 95% there and everything that needs to be in place for him to have a strong and successful launch is being put together," Coons, a Delaware Democrat who is one of Biden's closest allies, told CNN's John Berman on "New Day."

"I understand why he hasn't yet made the final decision," Coons said. "This is something he and Jill need some time to reflect on and pray on."

Biden teased a possible run Tuesday when he told a group of applauding supporters at a firefighters conference, "I appreciate the energy you showed when I got up here. Save it a little longer, I may need it in a few weeks."

Coons said Wednesday, "He's told me that he is all but certain he is going to run. He hasn't made that last decision."

The senator from Delaware also previewed the message Biden, who served six terms in the Senate and two as vice president, could adopt should he run.

"I expect him to run looking forward, setting us on a path towards making America work again, pulling us together, not cracking apart the divisions in our country as President Trump does, but seeing our divisions, knowing who we are, and inspiring us to pull together and to strengthen our place on the world stage, to restore respect for the presidency and to be able to actually make Congress and our government work again," Coons said.

Asked if Biden is prepared to explain some of his past positions, specifically on school busing, in today's political environment, Coons said he looks forward to defending the former vice president's record but he doesn't expect Biden "as a candidate to be spending his time relitigating things that were said or might have been said three or four or even five decades ago."

Biden said in December he's ready to answer confront his past positions.

"I am a gaffe machine, but my God what a wonderful thing compared to a guy who can't tell the truth," he during a stop for his book tour in Missoula, Montana. "I'm ready to litigate all those things. The question is, what kind of nation are we becoming? What are we going to do? Who are we?"

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