Canned political rhetoric fills the air earlier and earlier as we get closer to a state of perpetual campaigning, but sometimes politicians remind us of their humanity and get shockingly real. That’s exactly what happened when Vice President Joe Biden visited Stephen Colbert on The Late Show; a very emotional appearance that saw Colbert quickly jump to questions about the May 30 death of Biden’s son, Beau, and the vice president’s faith before asking the question: Is Biden willing to run for the presidency? His answer? Not a flat no, but far from anything approaching a yes as Biden made it clear that he isn’t emotionally at a point where he can give his whole self to that purpose.
Biden then told Colbert a story about visiting an army base in Denver and recounted how he reacted to a service member who called out Beau Biden’s name to tell the vice president that he had served with him. “I lost it,” said Biden, who then stammered while eventually telling Colbert, “I shouldn’t be saying this…” and, “you can’t do that,” when speaking about his emotional response.
Does Biden have a point or is he being too hard on himself? It’s hard to say, but regardless, it’s clear that his decision being isn’t driven by ambition, and that’s pretty commendable. Also, despite the tragic subject matter, it’s refreshing to have another place in late night where conversations like this can happen.