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Biden: Clinton won't really affect his 2016 decision

By CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser
January 29, 2014 -- Updated 1808 GMT (0208 HKT)

Washington (CNN) -- Vice President Joe Biden says Hillary Clinton's decision on whether she will or won't run for president in 2016 will not directly impact his own decision on whether to launch another bid for the White House.

And Biden, making the rounds on the morning network newscasts, said he thinks he'd "make a good president."

Speaking hours after President Barack Obama gave the annual State of the Union address, the Vice President backed up his boss's move to use executive actions, but like Obama, Biden said the White House would not be bypassing Congress. And he highlighted policy differences between himself and former Defense Secretary Bob Gates, who's recent criticism of Biden in a new book made headlines.

On whether he'll make a third run for the Democratic presidential nomination, Biden said on ABC's "Good Morning America" that "I haven't made a decision what I'm going to do. I haven't decided to run or not run," adding that "I'll make that decision later but now is not the time to talk about that. Now is time to talk about the opportunity we have this year."

But he's confident that he'd make a good president, saying on the "Today Show" on NBC that "in my heart, I'm confident that I could make a good president. It's a very different decision to decide whether or not to run for president. And there's plenty of time to do that."

Clinton's said she'll decide by the end of this year whether she'll launch a second bid for the White House. National polling indicates that if she does jump into the race, the former Secretary of State would instantly become the overwhelming frontrunner for the Democratic nomination.

When asked on "CBS This Morning" whether Clinton's decision will affect his own decision making process, the Vice President said "no, not directly. The only reason a man or woman would run for president, and I'm sure Hillary thinks the exact same way, is that they think they're in a better position to help the nation at the moment and what is the plan you have for your the country, and that's the only thing."

The CBS interview was the third in a row to end with questions about 2016, and when anchor Charlie Rose apologized to Biden for cutting him off during his answer regarding the next race for the White House, the Vice President said "that's OK. I'm glad to stop talking about it."

On the use of executive actions, Biden said on CBS that "most of the big things do have to go through Congress and the President said 'I want Congress to do that.' As a matter of fact, as I sat there with (House Speaker) John Boehner, he and I were talking about, before the President spoke, the prospects of moving on immigration."

But he added that "we're just not going to sit around and wait for the Congress if they choose not to act"

On NBC, the Vice President said that "you're seeing more cooperation with the Congress this year than you have the past five years," but added that "he (President Obama) said there's a lot of other avenues I can move, as well."

According to a CNN/ORC International poll of Americans who watched the State of the Union address, only three in ten said that the President should make unilateral changes to deal with major issues, with two-thirds saying that Obama should seek bipartisan compromise.

Asked about Gates writing in a book that Biden was wrong on almost ever major decision in the past 40 years, the former Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman talked about how he and the former Defense Secretary didn't see eye to eye on many matters.

"Bob and I like each other, we both acknowledge each other possess integrity, as he said in his book, but we have disagreed for 40 years. I thought we should end the war in Vietnam, that's why I ran. He didn't think that. I thought Iran Contra was a disaster, he thought it was a good idea. I thought (Mikhail) Gorbachev was an agent of change. You remember, he encouraged Reagan not to view him as an agent of change. I thought we should have war crime tribunals in Bosnia. He thought we shouldn't. I thought we should end this war in Afghanistan, after taking care of al Qaeda which we're about to finish doing. He didn't. The president said last night, 'it's time to end the war in Afghanistan.' That's not Bob's position," Biden said on CBS.

But Biden added on NBC that Gates is "a fine man."

As for security concerns at the upcoming Winter Olympic games in Sochi, Russia, the Vice President said "I'd send my own family with the same caveats. Make sure they were very vigilant, kept their eyes open," adding that Americans attending the games should "register with the State Department and pay very much attention."

CNN's Diane Ruggiero and Mary Grace Lucas contributed to this report

CNN's Diane Rugierro and Mary Grace Lucas contributed to this report

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