WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer is urging Vice President Joe Biden to stay out of the Democratic presidential race and instead support Hillary Clinton, Politico reported on Thursday.
After months of deliberating on the issue, Biden is expected to announce this month if he will seek the nomination, as he did in 2008 and 1988, and a political action committee has been urging him to do so.
Boxer, who was a colleague of Biden's during his long years in the Senate, told Politico on Wednesday that there was no reason for him to run. She was speaking after a televised debate on Tuesday among the Democrats who have announced they are running.
"I just don't think there's a rationale for his campaign," the California senator said. "I think he should endorse Hillary and go out that way."
Clinton leads opinion polls to be the Democratic nominee for the November 2016 election and her performance in the debate was widely seen as strengthening her position. Boxer said Clinton's showing made a Biden campaign less viable.
"I just don't see it," she said.
Biden, 72, has been President Barack Obama's vice president since 2009. Still dealing with the death of his son Beau earlier this year, he has said he is not sure whether he is up to the demands of a campaign.
Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta said in an interview on MSNBC it was time for Biden to announce his intentions.
"We're talking about different ideas about how to take the country forward, how to improve and build upon what President Obama has achieved," Podesta said. "And if Vice President Biden wants to enter and compete for the presidency then it is time for him to make that decision."
(Writing by Bill Trott; Editing by Frances Kerry)