For months there’s been speculation on whether Vice President Joe Biden will run for the Democratic 2016 presidential nomination. In a candid interview yesterday, Biden let something slip he “shouldn’t be saying” – he doesn’t think he has the right to run for President, because he can’t commit emotionally to the task.
If Biden is out, and with former secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers tanking in New Hampshire and Iowa, this huge reveal means that the leftist Vermont senator Bernie Sanders has a good chance to run away with the Democratic nomination.
In his emotional interview, Biden described himself Thursday as overwhelmed at times by his son’s death and unconvinced he could commit fully to being president, casting deep doubts over his deliberations about the 2016 presidential race.
Asked about his 2016 decision on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” Biden said he’d be lying if he said he knew he was prepared to run following Beau Biden’s death in May to brain cancer. With a level of candor seen rarely in politics, he recalled a breakdown of his emotions during a recent visit to a Colorado military base when a well-wisher yelled out the name of his son and referenced his decorated military service in Iraq.
“All of a sudden, I lost it,” Biden said. “How could you — that’s not — I shouldn’t be saying this: You can’t do that.”
Biden’s much-anticipated appearance on “The Late Show” was expected to take on a light and comedic tone, but instead veered almost immediately into raw and personal territory. He said White House hopefuls must be able to promise voters they can commit their whole heart, soul, energy and passion, and said, “I’d be lying if I said that I knew I was there.”
“Nobody has a right, in my view, to seek that office unless they’re willing to give it 110 percent of who they are,” Biden told Colbert.
Biden had previously expressed doubts about whether he and his family have the emotional energy to run. His blunt description of his own emotional frailty on Thursday marked the strongest indication yet that he may be leaning against running for the Democratic nomination.
Since his son’s death, Biden has frequent peppered his speeches with references to Beau and the impressive resume he developed in his 46 years. Biden went further in the interview, describing in detail conversations he had with Beau in the months before his death at a military hospital.
“He said, ‘Dad, sit down, I want to talk to you.’ He said, ‘Dad, I know how much you love me,'” Biden recalled. “Promise me you’ll be aright, because no matter what happens, I’m going to be all right.”
If Biden seemed unusually willing to bare his soul, it may have been due to his host. Colbert, the longtime Comedy Central star who this week took over David Letterman’s former role, lost his father and two brothers in a plane crash as a child. Biden invoked Colbert’s losses to make a point about how “there are so many other people going through this.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story