Instead of making a much-awaited presidential announcement during his appearance on The Late Show on Thursday night, Vice President Joe Biden opened up to Stephen Colbert about son Beau Biden's death. The interview, which was his first since his son's death in May, was both emotional and heartfelt as he reflected on his son, his grief, and his potential White House run.
The interview with Colbert was the first televised time Biden has spoken in detail about Beau, who was 46 when he passed away from cancer. “My dad had an expression," Biden told Colbert. "He used to say: you know your success as a parent when you turn and look at your child and realize they turned out better than you. I was a hell of a success: my son was better than me. And he was better than me in almost every way."
In one of the most touching and heartfelt moments, the vice president expressed his attempt to handle the attention that's been fixed on him since his son's death. “First of all, it’s a little embarrassing, this being about me. There's so many people — maybe some people in the audience — who've had losses as severe or worse than mine and didn't have the incredible support I have,” he said. "I feel self-conscious... The loss is serious and it's consequential, but there's so many other people going through this," the vice president added later.
During the interview, Biden described an incident where he encountered a soldier who had served with his son in Iraq, and he broke down. But he went on to discuss how he has attempted to handle his grief and push through.
No one owes you anything. You gotta get up. And I feel like I was letting down Beau, letting down my parents, letting down my family ... if I didn't just get up. ... I marvel at the ability of people to absorb hurt and just get back up.
As he debates whether or not to run for president, all eyes have been fixed on Biden. Although he has stated that he still hasn't made up his mind, he has until November to decide — and sources are saying he'll decide by October.
But the primary decision for the delay appears to be Biden's worry about his family, and their ability to emotionally go through a campaign. Although Beau reportedly urged his father run to for office before his death, concerns over Biden's own ability to make a third attempt at the presidency have plagued the vice president.
I don’t think any man or woman should run for president unless, number one, they know exactly why they would want to be president, and two, they can look at the folks out there and say, 'I promise you, you have my whole heart, my whole soul, my energy, and my passion to do this.' And I’d be lying if I said that I knew I was there. ... I’m being completely honest. Nobody has a right, in my view, to seek that office unless they are willing to give it 110 percent of who they are.
Biden wasn't the only one who opened up during the interview — Colbert also shared an emotional story from his own life about the death of his father and brothers, before urging Biden to run. “It’s going to be emotional for a lot of people if you don’t run,” Colbert said. “And sir, I just want to say I think your experience and your example of suffering and service is something that would be sorely missed in the race."
It was a powerful and moving interview, extremely different from the talking points often delivered by the current 2016 candidates. If Biden does decide to run, this interview will surely go down as one of the more pivotal moments in his campaign.