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Joe Biden with Sen. Claire McCaskill. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Joe Biden has told some top Democrats he’s definitely running for president, and even threw out Jan. 15 as a target announcement date.

"If I’m walking, I’m running," he has told friends winkingly.

What they're saying: His youngest brother, Frank Biden, thinks the former vice president is in. Ditto for some advisers. Several Democrats, including Michael Bloomberg and Terry McAuliffe, are watching him as their most formidable potential competitor.

  • Biden is "closer than he ever was in 2016" and "serious in his discussions with potential supporters," one confidant tells me.

Yes, but: Jan. 15 will come and go with no Joe-mentum — I'm told no chance of an announcement by then. No staff has signed up for a campaign, or been given a commitment of a job.

  • We're told authoritatively that Biden hasn't decided. So who knows where his head winds up. But we sure know where his heart is.

Go deeper: Our tracker for the 2020 elections

Subscribe to Axios AM/PM for a daily rundown of what's new and why it matters, directly from Mike Allen.
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Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
15 mins ago - Health

What overwhelmed hospitals look like

A healthcare professional suits up to enter a COVID-19 patient's room in the ICU at Van Wert County Hospital in Ohio. Photo: Megan Jelinger/AFP

Utah doctors are doing what they say is the equivalent of rationing care. Intensive care beds in Minnesota are nearly full. And the country overall continues to break hospitalization records — all as millions of Americans travel to spend Thanksgiving with friends and family.

Why it matters: America's health care workers are exhausted, and the sickest coronavirus patients aren't receiving the kind of care that could make the difference between living and dying.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
35 mins ago - Economy & Business

Southwest CEO: "You should fly"

The official guidance of the CDC says that "postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year."

  • Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly, however, took the opposing position when he was interviewed by "Axios on HBO." "You should fly," he told me, adding that "we need to have as much commerce and business and movement as is safe to do."

Cárdenas: Democrats need to be more "culturally competent" to win

Photo: Paul Morigi via Getty Images

Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.), who's running for chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told "Axios on HBO" that the DCCC needs to change "overnight" and his colleagues need to be more "culturally competent" if they want to be successful in the next election.

Why it matters: House Democrats are confronting what went wrong and what their party needs to change after they failed to expand their House majority and President Trump expanded his support among Latino voters.