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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

On the Next Episode of The Lead

Will Congress approve Obama's plan to defeat ISIS? Plus, the latest on Ray Rice and the NFL.

Will Congress approve Obama's plan to defeat ISIS? Plus, the latest on Ray Rice and the NFL.

February 13th, 2014
05:18 PM ET

Is Joe Biden ready for 2016?

Washington (CNN) – Vice President Joe Biden has low approval numbers, makes headlines for his epic gaffes, and has a potential 60-point hill to climb in the polls.

But that doesn't mean Biden is ready to turn the page on his presidential ambitions.

In his words, the vice president has remained noncommittal about whether he'll make a third run for the White House in 2016, but his actions indicate something far different.

America's second in command was just announced as one of the headliners for comedian Seth Meyer's new "Late Night" show, and he seemed to be in attendance at nearly every event in D.C. this week.

On Tuesday, Biden was front and center to welcome Francois Hollande to the White House and the State Department and rubbed elbows with Hollywood and political stars at a state dinner honoring the French President. He also swore in the Senate’s first Iraq veteran.

On Wednesday, he met with King Abdullah of Jordan. That night, he popped up again in Florida, fundraising for congressional hopeful Alex Sink.

He says he just wants to be the best veep he can be, but the 2016 presidential race is starting to loom larger – and the better the job he does, the better his odds.

Biden says presidential decision will come next summer

Biden clearly seems to think that he must keep moving, that if he runs it will be on his eight-year record, not on, say, Hillary Clinton's four-year State Department record that ended a year ago.

"There may be reasons I don't run, but there's no obvious reason for me why I think I should not," Biden told CNN.

He says Hillary's decision will not impact his, but the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll shows  Clinton to be more favorable than Biden by nearly 20 percentage points. But that number only matters if the Democratic favorite runs.

Decoding Biden's words: If Hillary runs, he won't

Comedian Conan O'Brian has already taken the liberty of producing Biden's campaign ad.

The vice president has been visibly active, in charge of the stimulus, Iraq policy, and front and center on the response to the Newtown attack. He is also often by President Barack Obama’s side for major decisions – even if he advised against them, as he did with the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

At the State of the Union, Obama announced that Biden would be working on the issue voters care most about: jobs. Biden will focus on demand-driven job training, getting community colleges aligned with local industries.

But Biden's more than 40 years in politics are often overshadowed by a history of misspeaks.

Welcoming the Irish prime minister to the White House in 2012, Biden said that when it comes to the friendship between the U.S. and Ireland, “there’s no doubt about them staying oiled and lubricated here.” When the room erupted in laughter, he added, “Now, for those of you who are not full Irish in this room, lubricated has a different meaning for us.”

Memories like that gem have earned him frequent lampooning by Saturday Night Live and late night comedians.

Despite the caricature, Biden is quick to assure the public that he is still in demand.

"I've been invited to go into, well, over 128 races so far," Biden said.

And had the weather not stopped his momentum, he would be hosting a House Democratic retreat Thursday in Maryland as well.

Biden did run for President twice. His 1988 bid crumbled under accusations of plagiarism and his 2008 effort never got much traction.

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