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Ex-VP Biden vows to stay involved, but no talk of presidency

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — Former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden said Sunday he promised his dying son Beau he would not retreat from life after his son’s death and he promised he would stay engaged.

Biden made the comments during an appearance in Vermont that is part of his ongoing tour promoting his book, “Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose,” which he wrote after Beau Biden’s 2015 death from cancer.

Biden did not offer any hints about whether he would seek the presidency in 2020. The vice president under former President Barack Obama disputed some published reports that he’d promised his son on his death bed that he would run for president.

“He was worried that I’d retreat” Biden said before a packed crowd at a Burlington arts venue. “He was worried that what I’d worked on my whole life, the things that mattered to me the most since I was a kid, that I’d walk away, that I’d turn inward, that I’d withdraw from public life.”

Rather than politics, Biden spoke of his ongoing commitment to his work in academia and maintaining his close ties with his family.

His visit to the home town of independent U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders comes as a number of Democratic politicians, as well as Sanders who sought the Democratic nomination in 2016, are preparing possible runs for the presidency in 2020. It’s expected that the first major presidential campaign announcements could come before the end of the year.

Biden, who has been less active so far than some of the other 2020 presidential prospects in preparing to run, was not expected to meet with Sanders during his visit to the Vermont city.

Last week during an appearance in Montana, Biden said he felt he was the most qualified person in the country to be president. At the time he said he’d decide within two months whether he’d run for president.

Biden’s ongoing book tour is described as a series of conversations that go beyond the 24-hour news cycle. During the Vermont appearance he spoke of the challenges he, and others, face when loved ones are diagnosed with cancer and the struggles with moving on after the death of those loved ones.