Joe Biden might make a big decision this weekend — but he'd have a bumpy road to the White House

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Jerry Seib: Will Joe Biden Run for President?

More and more leaks suggest that Vice President Joe Biden will enter the presidential race.

But he would face a steep uphill climb if he does.

The New Yorker reported Thursday that Biden representatives recently met with national Democratic Party staffers to discuss the rules and procedures that he he would need to clear if he entered the race.

"I think it means he's running," a source told The New Yorker.

"The deadlines for qualifying on the ballots for key states haven't passed yet, but are fast approaching."

Politico further reported that Biden is looking at making a final decision this weekend "or shortly thereafter," and that people close to him say he's leaning toward leaping into the fray.

According to CNN, Biden is meeting with his family this weekend to discuss the race and whether they are emotionally ready for the rigors of the campaign trail after the death of his son, Beau, earlier this year.

It's always been clear that Biden would like to be president. After all, he ran for the position twice, in 1988 and 2008, but flamed out early both times.

For more Joe Biden news, scroll through the gallery below:

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Joe Biden as he mulls over a presidential run
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Joe Biden might make a big decision this weekend — but he'd have a bumpy road to the White House
FILE - In this Monday, Sept. 21, 2015, file photo, Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a White House Champions of Change Law Enforcement and Youth meeting, in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington. CNN said Monday, Sept. 28, 2015, it will allow Biden to participate in the first Democratic presidential primary debate even if he decides that day to be a candidate. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)
Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Solar Power International Trade Show in Anaheim, Calif., Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015. Taking aim at his potential political opponents, Biden railed against Republicans who "deny climate change" and want to shut down the federal government over funding for Planned Parenthood, and pleaded with them to "just get out of the way." (AP Photo/Christine Cotter)
NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 10: Stephen talks with Vice President Joe Biden, on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Thursday Sept 10, 2015 on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS via Getty Images)
In this Sept. 10, 2015, photo, Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a labor rally in New York. In one minute, Biden seems like a presidential candidate-in-waiting, eating up adoration from die-hard supporters who are pleading with him to run. The next minute, he seems light-years away from convincing himself he’s ready to run _ a man still reeling from personal tragedy. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
In this Sept. 7, 2015, photo, Vice President Joe Biden, center, greets some of the crowd as he walks in the annual Labor Day parade in Pittsburgh. In one minute, Biden seems like a presidential candidate-in-waiting, eating up adoration from die-hard supporters who are pleading with him to run. The next minute, he seems light-years away from convincing himself he’s ready to run _ a man still reeling from personal tragedy. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
In this Sept. 7, 2015, photo, a crowd gathers, many wearing union shirts, in front of Vice President Joe Biden as he speaks before joining in the annual Labor Day parade in Pittsburgh. Hearing chants of "run Joe, run," Biden marched in Pittsburgh's annual Labor Day parade on Monday as speculation swirled about a potential late entry into the Democratic presidential campaign. In one minute, Biden seems like a presidential candidate-in-waiting, eating up adoration from die-hard supporters who are pleading with him to run. The next minute, he seems light-years away from convincing himself he’s ready to run _ a man still reeling from personal tragedy. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Vice President Joe Biden puts on a United Steelworkers hat before he spoke to a crowd before he joined in the annual Labor Day parade on Monday, Sept. 7, 2015, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
In this Sept. 10, 2015, photo, Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015, in New York. In one minute, Biden seems like a presidential candidate-in-waiting, eating up adoration from die-hard supporters who are pleading with him to run. The next minute, he seems light-years away from convincing himself he’s ready to run _ a man still reeling from personal tragedy. (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen)
In this Sept. 4, 2015, photo, Vice President Joe Biden, right, stands in the Oval Office of the White House during a meeting between President Barack Obama and King Salman of Saudi Arabia in Washington. In one minute, Biden seems like a presidential candidate-in-waiting, eating up adoration from die-hard supporters who are pleading with him to run. The next minute, he seems light-years away from convincing himself he’s ready to run _ a man still reeling from personal tragedy. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Vice President Joe Biden discusses the Iran nuclear deal with Jewish community leaders at the David Posnack Jewish Community Center in Davie, Fla. on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. Biden sought to allay concerns of South Florida Jewish leaders who fear Iran won too many concessions in the agreement, which seeks to curb the country's nuclear program in exchange for hundreds of billions of dollars in relief from international sanctions. (AP Photo/Joel Auerbach)
FILE - In this July 21, 2015, file photo, Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a roundtable discussion at the Advanced Manufacturing Center at Community College of Denver. Although Biden is considering whether to enter the presidential race, he skipped this week’s Democratic National Committee summer meeting. Doing so created an opening for front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton to consolidate her party’s support. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)
FILE - In this May 26, 2015 file photo, Vice President Joe Biden listens to remarks to the media during a meeting between President Barack Obama and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. Although Biden has yet to make a decision on a run for the presidency, his advisers say the discussions taking form in the last several weeks are serious enough that the vice president and his associates have started gaming out mechanics like fundraising, ballot deadlines and an early primary state strategy. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)
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Is the third time the charm? Polls suggest that there's an opening — though it's closing fast. Biden isn't scheduled to attend next week's debate, and the deadlines to appear on early-state primary ballots are near: He would have to file by November 20 to appear on the ballot in New Hampshire, the first-in-the-nation primary state.

But it's also unclear how wide that opening is for Biden — or if the public might stop viewing him as favorably should he enter the partisan arena, especially once the inevitable hits start flying from his opponents and the media.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's campaign limped into the fall after a brutal summer filled with increasing scrutiny over the personal email server she used for her State Department work. The FBI is looking into whether any sensitive information was mishandled in connection to the account.

At the same time, the Democratic primary has seen the rise of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), whose fiery economic populism and tell-it-like-it-is shtick has struck a chord among Democratic voters and contrasted sharply with Clinton's far more cautious approach to politics and policy.

However, it'd be a mistake to assume Clinton has somehow lost her status as the decisive Democratic front-runner.

Indeed, if Biden were to run he'd likely be heading straight into the buzz saw that is Clinton's behemoth operation. Clinton has had months to build up her campaign team, which is stocked full of top-tier operatives joined when she was widely expected to face only token primary opposition.

A vast swath of the Democratic establishment is also solidly behind Clinton. Earlier this week, Clinton scored the endorsement of the National Education Association, one of the largest unions in the country.

Even in the US Senate — an institution in which Biden served for 36 years — Clinton already has the endorsement of 33 out of the 46 Democratic senators, according to a tally this week by US News & World Report. Only Sen. Chris Coons (D-Delaware), who holds Biden's old Senate seat, has reportedly indicated he would back a Biden campaign.

And it's not just her endorsements and campaign staff. Clinton and Sanders both have had months to raise tens of millions of dollars apiece from wide networks of supporters.

Biden, meanwhile, has never been a prodigious fundraiser. Some top donors have declared that they would support his candidacy, but it's nevertheless likely that Biden would have a huge financial deficit relative to his top competitors.

Even if Clinton can be beaten in the Democratic primary, it's also not clear if Biden is necessarily the person to do it.

Clinton is running a history-making campaign to be the first female president. Biden, meanwhile, would be yet another older white man in a race that already has the 74-year-old Sanders as the chief competitor to Clinton.

The Clinton brand is particularly strong among minority voting blocs, according to a report this week by The New York Times' Jonathan Martin.

"But interviews with Democratic strategists and elected officials, as well as polls of Democrats, suggest that it would not be easy for Mr. Biden to poach blacks and Hispanics from Mrs. Clinton, who, along with former President Bill Clinton, remains highly popular with those voters," Martin wrote.

"To do so, these Democrats say, Mr. Biden would need a measure of help — or simply luck. Mrs. Clinton would have to be seen as politically damaged for minority voters, and especially black and Hispanic women, to switch their loyalties from a potential first female president to a white man."

And in an electorate fired up by populist outsiders, Biden is hardly the ideal candidate to seize that zeitgeist. He spent decades in Congress building up a relatively moderate profile compared to the progressive politics of 2015.

The "1994 Biden Crime Bill" probably wouldn't be as popular among Democrats today, for example, and Biden could face resistance from the "Black Lives Matter" movement, whose activists Clinton met with on Friday.

Other weaknesses in the Biden record would inevitably emerge should he enter the race. New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman, citing a source tied to the Clinton campaign, highlighted several areas where Clinton's operation could rip into Biden.

For more on Joe Biden, scroll through the gallery below:

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VP Joe Biden calls on governors to lead nation
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Joe Biden might make a big decision this weekend — but he'd have a bumpy road to the White House
Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the National Governors Association convention Friday, July 11, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, right, chairwoman of the National Governors Association, listens to a speech by Vice President Joe Biden at the group's convention Friday, July 11, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, left, asks a question of Vice President Joe Biden at the National Governors Association convention Friday, July 11, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. The three-day gathering of the National Governors Association represents the group’s final meeting before many state leaders face voters in an election season that will decide the balance of power in statehouses from Nevada to New Hampshire and could end some presidential campaigns before they begin. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, left, and West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, right, listen as Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the National Governors Association convention Friday, July 11, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Vice President Joe Biden jokes with North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, left, after giving him a hug at the National Governors Association convention Friday, July 11, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. At right is Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, left, and Utah Gov. Gary Richard Herbert, center, listen as Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the National Governors Association convention Friday, July 11, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
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"According to the source, the research has turned up material on Biden's ties to Wall Street; his reluctance to support the raid that killed Osama bin Laden; and his role in the Anita Hill saga as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee," Sherman wrote.

But Biden also has his strengths. Polls show that if the election were held today, he would be the Democrats' strongest nominee against the Republican field. He earned widespread kudos among LGBT activists for nudging the White House to support same-sex marriage. And more than any other candidate, he would represent a continuation of President Barack Obama's tenure.

Whether or not that's enough to sway voters remains — potentially — to be seen. Bloomberg Politics recently conducted focus groups of likely Democratic voters in Iowa and New Hampshire and found tepid support for the vice president.

In one group, the moderator asked the voters who wanted Biden in the race. Only one person raised her hand. Some of the participants said Biden was a great support player — but not presidential. And another voter said Biden had simply waited too long to decide on the contest.

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