Why Joe Biden just saved Leslie Knope a whole lot of heartache

Senior Television Writer
10.21.15 4 Comments


When “Parks and Recreation” debuted, Leslie Knope not only had a photo of Hillary Clinton on her office wall, but compared herself to the then-Senator, future Secretary of State, and current presidential candidate.

But as the series went along, we also learned that Leslie loved Joe Biden – not just for his politics, but for his entire being. As she once admitted, he was not only on her celebrity sex list; he was her celebrity sex list.

So as America waited to see if Biden was going to throw his hat into this presidential race, I wondered how Leslie might choose between two of her heroes. Now that Biden has rendered the choice moot by declining to run, I asked “Parks” co-creator Mike Schur what he thought Leslie would have done had Biden thrown his hat into the ring. This is what Schur wrote:

“Well, it’s a tough call. If you go by the old adage that people vote for the guy (or gal) they’d like to have a beer with, then she would’ve gone Biden, because the thought of drinking alcohol with Joe Biden, late at night, just the two of them, has probably been something she’s dreamed about for a long time. But Leslie’s affection for Biden wasn’t just because he was, in her mind, a stone cold fox. It was because of his worldview, his relatively blue collar upbringing, and his fervent belief in statesmanship and fighting for your constituents.

“On the other hand, Leslie has probably been wishing that Hillary Clinton were President since around 1988, and not casting a vote for the first woman to have a legitimate shot at the Presidency would be extremely painful. Hillary has drifted to the political center over the years, and there are certainly points of contention she would have to work through. But when are there not?

“I’m not 100% sure whom she would’ve voted for, to be quite honest. There would’ve been a lot of pro/con lists, a lot of combing through old scrapbooks about both candidates, and a lot of Leslie working through her arguments for each of them while Ben sat on the couch and tried not to fall asleep. I think it would’ve eventually tipped a tiny bit toward Hillary. But Biden deciding not to run would have been, in some ways, a huge relief.”

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