By Jon Keller, WBZ-TVBy Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – Joe Biden, we hardly knew ye.

Actually, we came to know Biden pretty well over the years, a self-described middle-class Democrat (and one of the least-wealthy members of the Senate during his time there) and devoted family man prone to amusing malapropisms and wearing his heart on his sleeve. For those of us in the media craving good copy – and for the activists who’d been pushing him to seek the presidency for a third time – his disavowal of candidacy leaves a void.

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But it also leaves former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in control of the race, because there will not be anyone to the right of Sen. Bernie Sanders – which is still the majority of the Democratic party – as an alternative for voters with doubts about Hillary.

Biden’s opening in this race was never about Biden himself.

Even with a wave of sympathy after the untimely death of his son Beau last spring, he never showed much momentum in the polls, and his two previous campaigns for president were underwhelming failures.

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The Biden rationale counted on the Clinton candidacy imploding, and anxious Democrats turning to him as their savior. But that never happened.

So now Clinton is right where she wants to be, the uncontested choice of party moderates with enough liberal support to hold off Sanders, and the favored target of the Republican party that Democrats love to hate.

We will see that last factor in action tomorrow when Clinton testifies before the House committee probing the Benghazi fiasco in televised hearings. And unless she wilts under the pressure or flops in a future debate – both unlikely scenarios – Biden’s withdrawal would appear to set Clinton on a glide path to the nomination.

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Then again, conventional wisdom had her on that path a year ago, and here we are, still speculating.

Jon Keller