By Lisa Lambert
SARASOTA, Florida (Reuters) - For his political opponents, Vice President Joe Biden might have been playing a trick, but for some of his ardent supporters, he could have been dispensing a special treat on Halloween: mentioning on Wednesday a possible run for president in 2016.
After a rally in Sarasota, Biden swung by Station 400, a train station-turned-restaurant filled with many who had cast their votes already for him and President Barack Obama.
One woman said her brother had just watched the film "2016," which lashes Democrat Obama, and said he would vote Republican.
Biden, who spent the last few days campaigning while Obama attended to recovery from the megastorm Sandy on the east coast, had the woman call her brother, and then spent some time discussing the finer points of the healthcare law with the man.
At the end of the end of the conversation, Biden made a joke about the future.
"After it's all over, when your insurance rates go down, then you'll vote for me in 2016," he said. "I'll talk to you later."
With five days left in a neck-and-neck campaign that has taken many unexpected twists and turns, including one hurricane that came close to shutting down a national party convention this summer and this latest storm that has suspended some early voting, some are already casting an eye toward the next race for the presidency.
And one question that bubbles up is whether Biden, a 69-year-old who has already run for president, will follow many of the vice presidents before him and set his sights at the highest elected U.S. office.
Throughout the four years, his propensity for misspeaking and making other gaffes have caused Washington to wonder if the former Delaware senator could survive to be included on Obama's ticket for a second term, but he has proved popular with older voters, women and the working class.
A casual mention in a restaurant would have been a novel way for him to throw his hat into the ring, but the setting seemed ideal for a man famous for his affection for the national passenger train network, Amtrak.
Toy trains ran along the top of the walls of the building, a former railroad depot built in 1852.
Biden's campaign team was quick to point out the joking tone he used on the phone, and Biden did not mention anything beyond this election in a speech he gave later in Ocala, Florida.
(Editing by Jackie Frank)