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The next presidential campaign is a long way off and the Democratic primary chase will be dotted with plenty of "ifs," most notably whether outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton decides to seek the nomination. Clinton, the former New York senator and first lady, remains the heavy favorite among party activists but several notable Democrats, including Biden, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, are said to be keeping their options open in case Clinton decides not to run again.
If Clinton decides not to run, Biden could draw upon good will from party activists, an ability to connect with regular folks and extensive campaigning in key states like Iowa, New Hampshire, Florida and Ohio. But he would also need to deal with personal poll numbers that rank below Obama's and a propensity to commit foot-in-mouth moments in an era where political gaffes can quickly sink a campaign.