MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden says he's in New Hampshire to talk about White House efforts to improve the economy — not his plans for 2016.
"I'm here about jobs, not mine," Biden said Tuesday when asked about his presidential ambitions while touring a business in Manchester.
The vice president has not said what his plans are for 2016, but politicians who visit New Hampshire invite speculation about their political ambitions. The state is scheduled to host the nation's first presidential primary, and prospective candidates in both parties have already begun to visit the state ahead of the 2016 contest.
Biden ran for president in 2008 but dropped out before the New Hampshire primary, which was won that year by another potential 2016 candidate: Hillary Rodham Clinton. Democrats across the state, including some that previously backed Biden, have encouraged Clinton to run.
Biden was to be joined later by Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez in Nashua, where they will tour the New Hampshire Works Center, a career center that connects unemployed workers with career counseling, computer access and training at local businesses.
While in New Hampshire, Biden will also raise money for three Democratic candidates. The vice president's office says he will participate in photo lines benefiting Gov. Maggie Hassan, and New Hampshire Reps. Carol Shea-Porter and Ann Kuster. A photo line is where donors can get pictures snapped with politicians.
All three candidates, in addition to U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, face re-election this year in a difficult climate for Democrats. Shea-Porter, Kuster and Shaheen are all scheduled to be in Washington on Tuesday, where Congress is in session, and they will not appear with the vice president. Hassan will be traveling with Biden during the day.
The Republican National Committee issued a statement on Tuesday entitled "Where's Jeanne" that highlighted the Democratic senator's ties to the Obama administration.
"Vice President Biden may be looking to get face time with first-in-the-nation voters, but his Oval Office aspirations are complicated by his role championing President Obama's unpopular tax and spend agenda," said RNC spokesman Michael Short. "So it's no wonder Jeanne Shaheen, Carol Shea-Porter, and Ann Kuster are keeping their distance today after rubberstamping the Obama-Biden agenda that has brought New Hampshire higher taxes and cancelled insurance plans under ObamaCare."