Joe Biden, being older than any other serving US president in history, arguably has a more realistic option of simply retiring after a single term than his younger predecessors did

Has President Joe Biden made any statement about, or otherwise indicated, if he aims to be President for 4, or for 8 years?

The reason for this question is that a President's goal and motivation of the first of two terms is typically somewhat different than the goal of the final term, which would likely influence their policies.

  • 5
    Look, it would be a good question, IF it wasn't trivially answered by searching for biden bid reelection. Sep 10, 2021 at 20:40
  • Related: George Joseph, the founder, chairman, and controlling shareholder of Mercury General turns 100 today. Warren Buffett just recently turned 91. Sep 11, 2021 at 12:46
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    He barely made any statements about the first run
    – Valorum
    Sep 11, 2021 at 19:38
  • Getting a bit ahead of ourselves maybe?
    – Vikki
    Sep 11, 2021 at 23:01
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    @Valorum - and at least two of those statements were that he was running for a senate seat. This belief of his seems to have persisted to the present day.
    – acpilot
    Sep 12, 2021 at 20:55

3 Answers 3


Has President Joe Biden made any public statements on wanting to run for a second term?

Yes, Joe Biden says he expects to run for reelection in 2024, March 25, 2021.

“My plan is to run for reelection. That’s my expectation,” Biden told reporters on Thursday during his first news conference as president. He later reaffirmed that it’s his “expectation” he will try to serve a second term as president. Biden will be 81 years old at that time.

Normally, official announcements are not made until the year before the election. In Biden's case, those were:

  • Thanks for the quick answe,+1. Do you know if the hedging language (plan, expect, try) is standard for this kind of message at this point in the Presidency, or is that unusual?
    – Peter
    Sep 10, 2021 at 21:11
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    @Peter - Because such questions (about re-election) don't normally happen so early, I suspect it was mostly to respond to "certain theories" that he intended to step down so that Harris could become president. I think the hedging was warranted to assure voters that nothing will change, despite those claims.
    – Rick Smith
    Sep 10, 2021 at 21:25
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    @Peter: To add to what Rick said, it's always possible that Biden will develop some kind of health problem between now and 2024, or that his approval rating will (continue to) decline, and in either case, he and Harris might want to keep their options open. But that doesn't mean they intend for Harris to run in 2024, just that they're not ready to rule it out yet.
    – Kevin
    Sep 11, 2021 at 5:57
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    Running for a first term and running for reelection seems rather different. I don't think one can really group those together or use examples of the formal to say the latter is "normal". Trump, while possibly not the most representative example, seems to have said as early as 2018 that he'll run in 2020, not to mention the rallies starting almost immediately after the start of his term.
    – NotThatGuy
    Sep 11, 2021 at 14:06
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    @NotThatGuy - Trump filed with the FEC for his second term on the day he was inaugurated (January 20, 2017).
    – Rick Smith
    Sep 11, 2021 at 14:16

I'll add here that that statement of Biden came as a surprise to some given earlier reporting...

Underscoring the single-term assumption was reporting like this from Ryan Lizza in Politico early in the campaign: “According to four people who regularly talk to Biden, all of whom asked for anonymity to discuss internal campaign matters, it is virtually inconceivable that he will run for reelection in 2024.”

I guess anonymous sources are worth what they are... Also, that was in Dec 2019.

On the other hand, his later statement was also commented upon as an "elastic formulation".

But after January 2021, some of his closest advisers indeed have indicated that he was considering it.

"He is planning to run again," Delaware Sen. Chris Coons told Politico over the weekend. "He knows that we are at the middle of an absolute turning point, a pivot point in American history. And he's up for the challenge." [...]

Coons is one of Biden's closest allies and advisers.

So, I guess it wasn't all that sudden of a change (if there was even a change), given that. Also, CNN notes that Biden himself gave a fairly similar answer in Aug 2020:

But by August, with Donald Trump ramping up attacks on the former vice president's age and ability to do the job of president, Biden was less vague about his future plans, Asked whether he could see himself running again in four years, he responded: "Absolutely."

The exact exchange then was:

“So you’re leaving open the possibility you’ll serve eight years if elected?” Muir asked him in a snippet of the interview released Sunday morning.

“Absolutely,” Biden replied.

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    I will note that President Biden's statements that he "could see himself" running again, that he "plans" to run again, that he "expects to try" to run again, and that he "leaves open the possibility of serving eight years" are not inconsistent with those anonymous sources believing it "inconceivable" that he will run. It is perfectly possible for a person to have a plan and other people to be skeptical of that plan. Sep 11, 2021 at 11:39
  • I'll add to this that a useful skill to learn in media analysis is to be able to tell the difference between sober analysis and wishful-thinking media speculation. One big clue is if there are a lot of people who would stand to benefit if said speculation is true, but the person actually making the decision would not benefit. All the talk about Biden possibly not running for re-election has pretty clearly been in the latter category.
    – T.E.D.
    Sep 11, 2021 at 16:57
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    "Vizzini: Inconceivable" "Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means."
    – Barmar
    Sep 11, 2021 at 18:13
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    @T.E.D. - Of course, Biden has said that he would run again, but I would note that if one did not know that, Biden could potentially benefit from not running again, depending on his perspective. Plenty of people retire around 60 or 70—it would hardly be unreasonable for someone to not want to continue working until well into their ninth decade. I can think of popes and chancellors who have stepped down earlier.
    – Obie 2.0
    Sep 12, 2021 at 6:24

While Biden was campaigning there was a perception among some that the Biden campaign itself had signaled that he might be a one-term president.

In December 2019 Politico claimed "Biden signals to aides that he would serve only a single term". Biden pushed back on that speculation, saying "I don't have plans on one term".

A May 2020 New York Times article stated that "Joe Biden has hinted that he might serve only one term if he wins." The article quotes him as saying "I view myself as a transition candidate". On another occasion Biden said "Look, I view myself as a bridge, not as anything else" (source). But it doesn't seem that candidate Biden said anything more definite beyond such vague statements.

As president, he stated flatly in a press conference on March 25, 2021 that he planned to run for re-election in 2024. That hasn't stopped the speculation, because the "one-term theory" proponents believe he only said that to avoid being seen as a lame duck.

  • I think it's worth noting that people are interpreting "Transitional candidate" and "Look, I view myself as a bridge, not as anything else" as indicative of a single term candidate, whereas he could see himself as a transitional candidate from a two term presidency, and a bridge over two terms. It sounds like the people who are thinking this translates to one-term candidacy rather than implying he wants a Democratic successor in 2028, and not that he views himself as necessary for that through 2024. Are those quotes sourced in the NYT article (I can't verify as it's paywalled and I'm cheap.)? Sep 12, 2021 at 7:45
  • I tend to infer his comments about being a "transitional candidate" and "as a bridge" as being more indicative of his talk about bringing America into a more united position (in terms of the recently hostile positions of the Democrats and Republicans) following his presidency.
    – James
    Sep 12, 2021 at 14:10
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    @AlexanderThe1st I got the first quote slightly wrong, he actually said "transition candidate", and it is sourced in the NY Times link. I will edit the above to fix it. I sourced the second ("bridge") quote from usatoday.com/story/opinion/2021/03/29/… and I'll add that too. Sep 12, 2021 at 15:56
  • Thanks for those updates! @James: That could very well be the case, although I suspect that the staff who think he would only be a single term president are thinking he would call himself a "Bipartisan candidate" in that case - which appears to be the root of the speculation. Sep 12, 2021 at 20:18

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