Joe Biden was in London on Wednesday. Giving a speech. And of course, someone in the crowd asked him about whether he was going to run for president in 2020.
“I am not a candidate at this point,” Biden responded.
“At this point” — !
What the former Vice President of the United States is saying here is, well, absolutely nothing. That he is not actively running for president on October 10, 2018 is no secret. It also tells us zero about whether he WILL be running for president at some point in the not-too-distant future.
Biden is far from the only probably-going-to-run Democrat who is using all sorts of present tenses and fancy footwork to avoid answering The Only Question Anyone Cares About these days.
“I’m not running today,” former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick told Politico’s Jake Sherman in late September.
California Sen. Kamala Harris told MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt over the summer that she was “focused on a lot of other things as a higher priority” when asked if she was running for president.
You get the idea. The goal of all of these statements is simple: Say something (“yes, I am running” or at least “I am looking at running”) while appearing to say nothing at all. It’s saying “no” while nodding “yes.” It’s demurring, with a wink.