Joe Biden sounds to me like someone who wants to run for president in 2020.
I don’t think he knows today whether he will plunge into the tough hours, days and weeks that campaigning for president involves.
I certainly have absolutely no inside information although the many people who ask me about 2020 find that hard to believe.
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But Biden’s answers in interviews about his just-published book, “Promise Me, Dad,” make me think he is getting ready for another presidential campaign. He writes at the conclusion of that book:
”So how do I want to spend the rest of my life? I want to spend as much time as I can with my family, and I want to help change the country and the world for the better. That duty does much more than give me purpose; it gives me something to hope for. It makes me nostalgic for the future.”
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Or as he told Oprah Winfrey: “I have a regret that I am not president. Because I think there’s so much opportunity. I think America is incredibly well-positioned.”
It’s not outrageous to consider whether he would have defeated Donald Trump in 2016. The issues and strategy that had been drawn up by his political aide, Mike Donilon, for the aborted 2016 run could easily fit into a 2020 campaign.
Potential voters will get a thorough look at Biden on his 19-city nationwide lecture tour, raising funds for the Center for American Progress, a Democrat PAC. He campaigned extensively for Hilary Clinton in 2016 and plans to work in the 2018 midterms. He certainly is getting lots of publicity as he talks about his son Beau’s illness and death, which kept him from running in 2016.
Also keeping him on the go are the Biden Institute at the University of Delaware and the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement at the University of Pennsylvania. Then there’s the Biden Foundation, where he is joined by wife, Jill, in its targets of “strengthening the middle class, ending violence against women, ensuring LGBTQ equality, protecting children, advancing community colleges, supporting military families and shaping foreign policy. “
How many of those goals are pressing issues today!
And of course he leads the cancer Moonshot, the initiative to bring together the research into the disease that killed son Beau.
You have to wonder when Joe and Jill and their families will have time to enjoy that new home in Rehoboth Beach.
Here is what the former vice president is saying about the always-asked question about the 2020 possibility:
- Vanity Fair’s current issue to interviewer David Kamp: “I haven’t decided to run and I ‘ve decided I’m not going to decide not to run. We’ll see what happens.,,, I don’t consider my attempt to contribute to the public square finished.”
- NBC’s Today Show: “I’m in pretty good shape…I think people have a right to ask about your age, your health,” certainly important for Biden, who turns 75 today and had two brain aneurysms in 1978. He also said to host Matt Lauer, “I’m not closing the door; I’ve been around too long. Who knows what the situation will be like a year and a half from now.”
- New York Times Book Review interviewer Philip Galanes asks: “We’re so dug in and divided now. Do you think President Biden could make a difference?” Biden replies, “The obvious answer is: I don’t know. But I have always been good at bringing people together. Trying to understand the other person’s perspective.”
As a website post put it: “Biden would be the un-Trump – experienced, kind, empathetic, good-humored, self-deprecating and decent.”
“Promise Me, Dad,” tears at your heart as he writes about his heartaches watching the death of his son, but the vice president continues his assignments and writes how he gets through the crisis by keeping purpose in his life.
Harry Themal has been a News Journal columnist since 1989.
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