By Steve Holland
PITTSBURGH (Reuters) - Vice President Joe Biden gave a glimpse of what a Biden race for the Democratic presidential nomination would look like on Monday should he decide to make a late entry into the race after a highly public period of soul-searching.
In a speech and walkabout at a labor rally in downtown Pittsburgh, Biden marked Labor Day with a full-throated appeal for steps to fix income inequality and gave a picture of the personal touch he would offer on the campaign trail.
Despite his 72 years, Biden looked energetic and eager. Biden jogged back and forth across a downtown Pittsburgh street to greet people who met him with cheers of "Run Joe Run."
He seemed to be genuinely enjoying himself as he snapped selfie photos and waded into the crowd to shake hands.
Biden is conflicted about entering a Democratic race dominated thus far by Clinton, the party's favorite, and self-described socialist Bernie Sanders.
Biden said last week he is not sure he has the emotional energy for a candidacy following the death of his son Beau in May from cancer. He has given himself variously until later this month and possibly as long as until November to act on an appeal earlier this year from Beau to run for president.
Richard Trumka, the AFL-CIO president who accompanied Biden in walking the parade route, said he did not know if Biden would run but added:
"If you're looking for energy, this is a great place to get energy today."
An eye opener for Biden boosters was a fresh NBC News/Marist poll over the weekend that showed Biden gaining strength in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire race in spite of not being a candidate was an eye opener.
In introducing Biden for his speech, Trumka and United Steelworkers union chief Leo Gerard gave strong praise to Biden, who was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
"He has never let us down," said Gerard.
Biden, in his speech, said the tax code is to blame for the rich getting a bigger piece of the economic pie.
"It used to be when productivity went up in America, everybody got a chance to share," said Biden. "They got a piece of the action... Why in God's name should a man or a woman working in a steel mill make $50,000 a year when someone on Wall Street makes millions of dollars a year?"
(Reporting By Steve Holland Editing by W Simon)