Irish American Joe Biden has announced he will pass on a White House bid, bringing relief to the Clinton camp who feared his entry would present a major challenge.

The Vice President’s announcement came as a surprise as he made it in the Rose Garden with family and President Obama at his side.

In recent days there was definite speculation that he was more likely to say “yes” rather than “no” to efforts to draft him.

However the key issue was the improved prospects for Hillary Clinton as she dominated the first debate and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy admitted the Benghazi hearings were an exercise in driving down her positives.

Up to that point Hillary had been sinking, leading to speculation that Biden would be seen as the most attractive replacement if he jumped in.

His decision now means almost certain victory for Clinton in the Democratic primary as Biden is pulling far more votes from her than he was from Bernie Sanders.

The Democratic field is thus reduced to four contenders: clear outsiders Martin O’Malley and Lincoln Chafee, and Clinton and Senator Sanders.

For Biden it is a sad moment as he contemplates retirement when Obama steps down at the beginning of 2017, but some believe he might have done a deal with Hillary to be her Secretary of State if he agreed not to run.

Biden was a senator at 29 years old and capped a decades long career by winning the VP job.

However, the tragic death of his son Beau earlier his year was a huge blow to the VP and his family and made the prospect of a tough presidential race even more unlikely.

Are you disappointed Biden won’t be entering the presidential race? Do you think he’d make a good Secretary of State? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Vice President Joe Biden speaking at his induction into the Irish America Hall of Fame in 2013.Sade Joseph/Irish America