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Joe Biden thinks Enda Kenny would get 80% of the vote if he ran in America

The US vice president reckons the caretaker Taoiseach has done “a hell of a job”.

Updated 3pm 

US VICE PRESIDENT Joe Biden has said that Enda Kenny would get 80% of the vote if he ran in America.

Biden was speaking as he hosted Kenny and an Irish delegation for breakfast at the US Naval Observatory in Washington DC earlier.

The caretaker Taoiseach is in the US for the annual St Patrick’s Day visit, but returns to Ireland tomorrow as Fine Gael continues its efforts to form a government.

Despite losing seats and a mandate to govern in the election last month, Biden said that Kenny had done “a hell of a job” and remained “the most popular guy in his country”.

“When I said something to him about it earlier, he [Kenny] said: ‘This is gonna work out, this is gonna work out,’” Biden said before saying of Kenny: 

I can assure you that if you ran in America, you would get 80% of the vote.  

Meanwhile at the same event, Kenny said he remained confident that a new government can be formed despite failing to win re-election as Taoiseach last week and having to resign.

“My belief is in the short period ahead we will be able to put together a stable government that will last the time ahead, in the best interests of the country,” the Fine Gael leader said.

Kenny is meeting with President Barack Obama in the White House this afternoon.

Although St Patrick’s Day isn’t until Thursday, the celebrations are taking place early because Kenny is travelling to Brussels on 17 March for a European Council meeting.

Kenny was due to spend two days in Washington, that has been cut to one day. Don’t worry though – he will still get to present Obama with the traditional bowl of shamrock.

The caretaker Taoiseach will miss an economic promotion lunch and the American Ireland Fund gala dinner tomorrow, and his place at the lunch will be taken by Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan.

The 2016 programme of St Patrick’s Day ministerial travel will see the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and eight ministers travel to six “priority markets for the promotion of trade, tourism, investment and education services”, Minister Flanagan said.

st patrick's day politics Source: Minister Flanagan

There are far fewer trips this year than in 2014.

After his early morning visit to the White House, Kenny will head with Obama to the Capitol for the annual Friends of Ireland luncheon.

Kenny conveyed his resignation to President Michael D Higgins last week, but remains on as caretaker Taoiseach, heading a caretaker government, until a new government is formed.

- additional reporting from Hugh O’Connell 

In full: Here’s where our ministers are going for St Patrick’s Day>

Read: Enda’s St Patrick’s trip to the US has been cut to just one day>

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