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Joe, make way for Hillary

By LZ Granderson, CNN Contributor
January 30, 2013 -- Updated 0115 GMT (0915 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • LZ Granderson: Obama subtly gave Hillary Clinton thumbs up during love-fest interview
  • Poll says Democrats favor Clinton over Biden and she wins with minorities, women, gays
  • Granderson: Clinton resonates with younger voters but Biden seems too old
  • Biden should not go for nomination in 2016, he says, but should help Clinton win instead

Editor's note: LZ Granderson, who writes a weekly column for CNN.com, was named journalist of the year by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and is a 2011 Online Journalism Award finalist for commentary. He is a senior writer and columnist for ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter: @locs_n_laughs.

(CNN) -- Watching the President Obama-Hillary Clinton love fest on "60 Minutes" was more like witnessing an infomercial than an interview.

Obama let his supporters know that any lingering animosity toward Clinton stemming from their contentious 2008 primary battle needs to be put to rest. By sidestepping -- as opposed to flat-out denying -- rumors about a run in 2016, Clinton informed her staunch supporters that another presidential campaign was possible.

And in a subtle way, both told Joe Biden not to bother. Unfortunately for Biden, voters were not as subtle.

LZ Granderson
LZ Granderson

In an ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted the week before the inauguration, 67% of Democrats said they view Clinton favorably, versus 48% for Biden. The study found Clinton to be more popular among Latinos, blacks, independents and Republicans. The Advocate says Clinton is "the clear favorite" in a poll of its gay and lesbian readers. It would seem -- barring a sex tape or alien abduction -- Biden has no shot at winning the nomination.

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And yet, those numbers didn't stop the vice president from "campaigning" hard during inauguration weekend. It remains to be seen if the sight of his boss showering his potential opponent with accolades during prime time will make it even more obvious to Biden that his best-case scenario would be Obama declining to endorse a candidate -- which, if you think about it, is still a slap in the face.

Biden deserves better, of course.

But unfortunately for Biden, his time to receive better has passed. He ran twice for president, and his campaign faded rather quickly in both cases. Come 2016, he'd be 74 years old. Not to be ageist or flip, but the last president in his 70s was suspected of having Alzheimer's while in office. Conservatives may like to ignore that part of Ronald Reagan's legacy, but liberals never will.

Photos: Hillary Clinton through the years

Obama, Clinton explain joint interview
Biden takes oath of office for 2nd term

Although Clinton is not that much younger than Biden, her appeal resonates with younger voters, elevating her to rock star status. Not to mention she has the call of history at her back, Bill Clinton and Obama on her side, and bipartisan respect in the palm of her hands.

Joe is a good guy with a big heart and great back story, but he ain't Hillary.

In fact, given his age and propensity to go off script, there is no guarantee he could defeat New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo or Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley -- two other names that have been floated out there -- if Clinton opted not to run.

Then he has this going against him: Since 1789, 47 men have served as vice president. Only eight of them served two full terms and of that group just three -- George H.W. Bush, Richard Nixon and John Adams -- became president.

Do you believe Joe Biden's the kind of guy to make that kind of history?

"There's a whole lot of reasons why I wouldn't run," Biden said before the inauguration. "I don't have to make that decision for a while. In the meantime, there's one thing I know I have to do, no matter what I do. I have to help this president move this country to the next stage."

Let's hope he'll set his ego aside and let that be his White House legacy.

Earlier this month, after attending a meeting with about 200 Democratic insiders at Biden's house, New Hampshire state Sen. Lou D'Allesandro said: "I took a look at who was there and said to myself, 'There's no question he's thinking about the future.'"

Which was exactly my thought as I scrolled through some photos that someone who was at this gathering showed me a few hours later. Biden didn't appear to be a man celebrating re-election. He looked to be a man on a fact-finding mission, working the room, trying to figure out who would be with him if he does decide to run.

But he shouldn't.

The people like him -- but they don't seem to be for him. They weren't for him when he first ran for president in 1988. They weren't for him when he ran in 2008. And it seems voters are saying it's a no-go for Joe yet again.

Perhaps the best thing for him to do is give Clinton a call and ask "What can I do to help?" because tossing his name in the ring is going to hurt only one person -- himself.

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The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of LZ Granderson.

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