Biden, who started in the Senate young and would be just 70 in 2012, raised the possibility unprompted during a wide-ranging conversation at the May 19 dinner with major Democratic Party donors, a source in the room said.
The Vice President, who has never ruled in or out running in six years, told the group he hadn't made up his mind, and cited both political conditions and his own health as relevant factors.
But the spontaneous suggestion caught the attention of at least some in the audience, said the guest, "given he volunteered that without prompting...and given the audience."
A crop of Democrats already appear to be eyeing the subsequent presidential contest, including New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, and Virginia Senator Mark Warner; a sitting Vice President would utterly change the circumstances in a race that is, in any event, too far off to imagine, and whose contours depend most of all on whether Obama wins re-election.
A spokeswoman for Biden declined to comment on the exchange.