EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

March 26, 2014

Biden touts job training in New Hampshire visit

NASHUA (AP) — Stoking speculation about his presidential ambitions, Vice President Joe Biden yesterday promoted the White House’s job creation efforts while visiting the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state of New Hampshire.

Biden joined Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez at Nashua’s New Hampshire Works Center during an afternoon swing, which was Biden’s first appearance in the state since the last presidential contest. While Democrats buzzed about Biden’s future, the vice president downplayed his interest in the presidency when asked.

“I’m here about jobs, not mine,” Biden said when asked about his presidential ambitions while touring a Manchester business.

Hillary Rodham Clinton is considered the overwhelming favorite to win the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination should she run, but Biden has not ruled out a presidential bid of his own. He has run for the White House twice before.

New Hampshire is scheduled to host the nation’s first presidential primary in less than two years, and prospective candidates in both parties have already begun to travel to the northern New England state to court voters and key activists. Democrats note that Biden has strong relationships across the state, but several former supporters have already begun to get behind Clinton.

“Joe Biden has got more relationships in New Hampshire than just about any candidate who has run for office next to the Clintons,” said New Hampshire-based Democratic operative Jim Demers. “He’s got a lot of friendships. But a lot of those people have started working with the Ready for Hillary campaign.”

Biden offered an optimistic vision for America’s economy after touring the New Hampshire Works Center, a career center that connects unemployed workers with career counseling, computer access and training at local businesses.

He praised Gov. Maggie Hassan’s leadership.

“The reason we’re here, notwithstanding what others may think, is a simple proposition: You run the best outfit in the country,” Biden told the small crowd gathered inside the Nashua center, the governor at his side. “America today is better positioned to lead the world economically in this century than any other country.”

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