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Sen. Biden not running for president

"Too much of a long shot"

Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Delaware
Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Delaware

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Interactive: The Democratic field 

WILMINGTON, Delaware (CNN) -- Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Delaware, ended speculation about his presidential aspirations Monday with the announcement of his decision not to join the 2004 Democratic presidential field.

In a prepared statement, Biden said that although he is "deeply concerned " about the direction of the country at home and abroad, he has "taken a long and hard look at what it would take to win my party's nomination. At this late date, everything would have to fall perfectly into place and I would have to put on hold what influence I have in the United States Senate in pursuit of what is now too much of a long shot.

"Ultimately, a decision of this nature is intensely personal and my experiences have taught me under such circumstances to follow my own instincts," said Biden, who was re-elected to a sixth term in the Senate last year.

"At this moment, my instincts tell me that the best way for me to work to enhance America's national security and to fight for economic security for the middle class is to remain in the United States Senate," he said. "From there I will also attempt to influence the positions taken by my party's nominee on these issues. "

Chip Unruh, a spokesperson from Biden's Washington, D.C., office said the senator made his decision late last week after consulting with his family and with colleagues.

Candidate endorsement?

Unruh said he was unsure if Biden would formally endorse any of the nine Democrats currently seeking the presidential nomination, but he said the senator would back the party's nominee next year.

Biden is spending the August congressional recess with his family at their home outside Wilmington.

He ran in the 1988 presidential race, but dropped out in 1987 amidst allegations of plagiarism in his campaign speeches.

With Biden out of the mix, the only major name who is looked at as a serious possibility to join the Democratic race is retired U.S. Army Gen. Wesley Clark.

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