UPDATE: The countdown clock now reads 21-days:


President Barack Obama has slightly more than 22 days to drop Vice Presidential Joe Biden from the 2012 Democratic presidential ticket, according to lawyers familiar with the party nominating process. That is, Democrats have until September 6 to formally nominate their presidential ticket which will then be qualified for the 50 state ballots.

And it is still possible for that ticket not to include the current vice president, Joe Biden.

"As a sitting president and vice president, Obama and Biden are both considered the Democrats' presumptive nominees and will not be the official nominees until after Charlotte," a lawyer familiar with the party nominating process tells me. "Each party has to file paperwork with each state once the candidates become official nominees. So it's still quite possible for Obama to drop Biden and replace him with someone else and pay no consequences with listing on ballots."

The nominating process will take place at the Democratic party convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, which is being held September 3-6.

Renewed speculation that Biden could be dropped from the ticket comes on the heels of yet another gaffe by the vice president. "They gonna put y'all back in chains," Biden said of the Republican candidates for president and vice president yesterday at a campaign stop. CNN reported that a senior adviser called Biden's comments "not helpful," and that "they believe the vice president has knocked them off track."

On Monday, Vice President Biden also came under fire after questioning the values of Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan by invoking the Wisconsin congressman's deceased father.

Biden had taken last week off, spending most of that time at the beach, avoiding mishaps by staying away from the press and the campaign trail.

Speculation that Biden could be dropped has been rampant, despite denials from top Democrats. As NPR reported, "no elected VP has been dropped from the ticket since 1944, when Henry Wallace was removed at the national convention that year in favor of Sen. Harry Truman (D-Mo.). And that turned out to be extremely significant, as President Franklin Roosevelt was dead less than three months after he was inaugurated for a fourth term."

The likeliest time for an announcement that Biden is to be dumped would be just before the GOP convention—around Friday, August 24. This would step on the Republicans' planned buildup to their convention, and would give Hillary Clinton, perhaps the likeliest replacement, a couple of weeks to resign as Secretary of State to accept her place on the ticket, while arranging a smooth transition at Foggy Bottom.

So look for activity around August 24. But meanwhile, here's a countdown clock until the last moment Biden could easily be dropped, the date the ticket is formally nominated, September 6:

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