President Joe Biden has said he is likely to seek re-election in 2024, but the 78-year-old Democrat left open the possibility of stepping aside after one term.

“My plan is to run for re-election. That’s my expectation,” He told reporters in a wide-ranging news conference, the first of his young presidency.

He later pushed back against a reporter’s suggestion that his 2024 plans were definite.

“I said, ‘That is my expectation’,” President Biden said.

“I’m a great respecter of fate. I’ve never been able to plan four-and-a-half, three-and-a-half years ahead for certain.”

Traditionally, there is no question as to whether a first-term president will run for re-election. Former president Donald Trump, for example, announced his plans to seek re-election on his first day in office.

But questions about President Biden’s 2024 intentions have swirled since even before his November victory — because of his age. At 78, he is the oldest person to assume the presidency.

In office only two months, his 2024 plans have a direct effect on his political strength.

If viewed as a one-term president, he would effectively be a lame-duck president with diminished sway at home and abroad as he pursues an aggressive agenda.

President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference in the East Room of the White House
President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference in the East Room of the White House (Evan Vucci/AP)

Given a high-profile opportunity to clarify his status on Thursday, he sought to create the impression he was not a lame duck, but he avoided making any definite promises.

Should he run again, President Biden said he “would fully expect” to choose Vice President Kamala Harris to be his running mate again. “She’s doing a great job. She’s a great partner,” he said.

President Biden seemed exasperated when asked if he expected Mr Trump to run on the Republican side in four years.

“I don’t even think about it. I have no idea,” President Biden said, suggesting that Mr Trump may not even be part of the Republican Party.

It may seem early, but several Republican presidential prospects are already jockeying for position ahead of the GOP’s 2024 nomination fight.

US Election 2020
Donald Trump says he may run again (Niall Carson/PA)

On Friday, former secretary of state Mike Pompeo plans to deliver a speech in Iowa, which traditionally holds the nation’s first presidential primary contest.

Mr Trump has teased another run, but he would be 78 himself at the beginning of the next president’s term.

With a Democrat in the White House, there has been virtually no jockeying on the Democratic side so far.

Ms Harris would be the most likely successor should President Biden step aside, but she would probably face competition. So soon after taking office, however, Ms Harris’ allies have taken no steps to prepare for a presidential bid of her own.

Privately, many Democrats believe President Biden will not seek a second term. But publicly, there are few willing to question his intentions.

“He’s starting out by so far successfully improving our pandemic response both from a health perspective and economic perspective, which lays the groundwork for a successful term and re-election strategy,” said Democratic strategist Josh Schwerin. “He’s running.”