Hillary sighs in relief……

Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday he will not run for president, putting an end to speculation that he would challenge former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee for the Democratic nomination.

“As my family and I worked through the grieving process, I’ve said all along what I’ve said time and again to others, that it may very well be that that process–by the time we get through it–closes the window on mounting a realistic campaign for president, that it might close. I’ve concluded it has closed,” said Biden.

“I know from previous experience that there is no time table for this process. The process doesn’t respect or much care about things like filing deadlines or debates in primaries and caucuses, but I also know that I couldn’t do this if the family wasn’t ready,” he said.

“The good news is the family has reached that point, but as I’ve said many times, my family has suffered a loss, and I hope there would come a time–and I’ve said this to many other families–that sooner rather than later when you think of your loved one, it brings a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eyes,” said Biden. “Well, that’s where the Bidens are today thank God.”

Biden’s son Beau, who served as attorney general for Delaware, died after a two-year battle with brain cancer.

“Beau is our inspiration,” said Biden. “Unfortunately, I believe we’re out of time, the time necessary to mount a winning campaign for the nomination.

“But while I will not be a candidate, I will not be silent,” said Biden. “I intend to speak out clearly and forcefully to influence as much as I can where we stand as a party and where we need to go as a nation, and this is what I believe.”

Biden said not only should the Democratic presidential candidates running for office defend President Barack Obama’s record, they should run on it.

“I believe that President Obama has led this nation from crisis to recovery, and we’re now on the cusp of resurgence. I’m proud to have played a part in that,” he said.

“This party, our nation, will be making a tragic mistake if we walk away or attempt to undo the Obama legacy. The American people have worked too hard, and we’ve come too far for that. Democrats should not only defend this record and protect this record, they should run on the record,” Biden said.