US Election 2016

Joe Biden 'regrets not entering 2016 race'

Joe Biden with his hands clasped in front of him Image copyright Getty Images

Vice-President Joe Biden has said he regrets not launching a campaign for the presidency.

But he added he believed the decision was right for him and his family.

He made the remarks in an interview with a Connecticut TV station, and also praised Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

He ruled out running last October, saying his family was ready after the death of his son earlier that year, but he had now run out of time.

"I regret it every day," the vice-president said during an interview on WVIT-TV on Wednesday. "I plan on staying deeply involved, and we've got two good candidates."

Mr Biden, a Democrat, offered praise for the candidates he would have competed against, Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

"There's real robust debate between Hillary and Bernie, as there would have been if I had gotten in the race," he said. "It's not a bunch of serendipity out there."

He did not mention the third candidate, Martin O'Malley, whose campaign has lagged far behind those of Ms Clinton and Mr Sanders.

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Media captionWhat we'll miss about Joe Biden on the campaign trail

His warm tone quickly dissipated when asked about the opposing Republican field of candidates.

"I will not mention them, but I promise you, I have spoken to three of the presidential potential nominees on the Republican side who tell me 'Joe it's crazy, this is absolutely crazy'," he said. "It's not been a very illuminating campaign so far."

He began what appeared to be a criticism of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz before stopping mid-sentence.

Mr Biden made the remarks in an interview that was primarily focused on touting President Barack Obama's newly-announced executive actions on gun control.

The 73-year-old politician spent months wrestling with the decision of whether to launch a campaign or not, with the death of his adult son, Beau, in May weighing heavily on the decision making process.

Reports in August said that it was the dying wish of the younger Biden for his dad to enter the race.

Mr Biden spent weeks toiling over the decision, often teasing the press and potential donors with speculation that he was going to jump on the campaign trail.

However, he announced in late October that he had decided against running, acknowledging that he was at a disadvantage in terms of funding and popular support relative to the other candidates who had been campaigning for months.