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Biden says he'll discuss whether to run for president again over Thanksgiving dinner

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

Lots of families had some big conversations over the dinner table at Thanksgiving last night - some easy, some hard, some involving major life decisions, such as whether to run for a second term as president. We're joined now by NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith, who is reporting on President Biden's deliberations about whether to run for reelection in 2024.

Good morning, Tam. All right, so what do we know about where President Biden is in his decision process?

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: We know that Biden has said repeatedly that he does plan to run for reelection, but he has also said that he's a big believer in fate. And although he isn't explicit about this part, he did just turn 80 this past weekend, making him the first octogenarian president of the United States. Until Biden actually files the paperwork, the decision to run isn't really final. He said recently that he would be talking to his family about it.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: And my guess is it'd be early next year we make that judgment.

KEITH: Anita Dunn, who is a longtime adviser to Biden and is also a top White House official, was asked about it at an event recently put on by the publication Axios.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ANITA DUNN: His decision to run in 2020 came after a family meeting that was actually, as he posed it, called by his grandchildren. Pop's got to have this conversation. The family is going to be deeply involved in whatever decision he reaches because that's who he is.

MARTÍNEZ: Now, we know the family's gathered this week. Are they in Nantucket making the decision as we speak?

KEITH: We have no idea.

MARTÍNEZ: Oh.

KEITH: As Biden's press secretary said repeatedly this week, these are private conversations. And even if a decision is made this week, or maybe it'll be over Christmas, it's not like a formal announcement would come immediately. I think back to when then-President Obama made his announcement. For the 2012 election, he didn't announce his reelection until around April of 2011. And that was even though there was really no question about whether he would run. In that Axios interview, Dunn said preparations are already underway, though.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DUNN: We are engaged in some planning for the simple reason that if we weren't engaged in planning in November of this year, we should be in the political malpractice hall of fame.

MARTÍNEZ: When Donald Trump announced that he was going to run in 2024, I think everyone did a collective look toward D.C. to see exactly what President Biden was planning on doing.

KEITH: Well, he has said that he doesn't feel any hurry one way or another, regardless of what Trump does. And Trump's announcement is very early by historical standards, if not by his own standards. And one factor that the White House must be weighing here - and Biden's advisers - is that there are a lot of polls that show Democrats are not that excited about him running again. When I was out interviewing voters last month, many of them brought up concerns about Biden's age, unprompted. They said that they like him, that he doesn't get the credit he deserves. And then I'd say, oh, well, then do you want him to run again? And there would often just be these painfully long pauses and a lot of ums and ahs.

But I have to say, it doesn't look like there's another Democrat waiting in the wings, ready to challenge him. Democrats did really well in the midterms, or, at least, it wasn't the red wave that many people were expecting. And that's boosted the White House's confidence about Biden's political fortunes. And since then, a long list of Democrats with thinly veiled political ambitions have come out and said that if Biden runs, they will support him. Now Biden just really has to answer the question of if he's going to run.

MARTÍNEZ: NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith.

Tamara, thanks.

KEITH: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Tamara Keith has been a White House correspondent for NPR since 2014 and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast, the top political news podcast in America. Keith has chronicled the Trump administration from day one, putting this unorthodox presidency in context for NPR listeners, from early morning tweets to executive orders and investigations. She covered the final two years of the Obama presidency, and during the 2016 presidential campaign she was assigned to cover Hillary Clinton. In 2018, Keith was elected to serve on the board of the White House Correspondents' Association.