LAS VEGAS — Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid delivered a disappointing message to the assembled media throng before the Democratic debate: Vice President Joe Biden is not going to be onstage.
“No, Joe won’t be here tonight,” Reid said quietly during a question-and-answer session with journalists at the Wynn Las Vegas, the venue for the first major event in the race for the Democratic Party’s nomination.
Biden, who is rising in the polls and is seen as a possible alternative to scandal-plagued Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has suggested that he may decide as early as this week whether or not to enter the race. Organizers had reserved a podium for him in case he decided to make a dramatic entrance.
For now, Clinton holds a commanding lead over most of her rivals, though self-declared socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) leads her in New Hampshire and is mounting an aggressive challenge. Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, former Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee, and former Sen. James Webb of Virginia will be joining her onstage, hoping to make an impact that will allow them to make a polling breakthrough.