On the eve of a media tour that will certainly include some emotional moments, there was sobbing before an interview with former Vice President Joe Biden even began.
However, in this case, the brief choking up came from New York Times writer Philip Galanes, who was preparing to sit down with the politician in his Greenville home to discuss his new book, Promise Me Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship and Purpose, out this week.
Galanes, who has written about his own family tragedy, recounts
When he [Biden] rose to shake my hand — friendly, cheerful even — something cracked open inside me. “Congratulations on the book,” I said. “It’s …” And that’s when a sob strangled the simple word I’d meant to say: “beautiful.”
“You can’t do that,” Mr. Biden said. He sounded strict. “If you cry, then I’ll cry,” he said. “We have to help each other.”
In the interview, Biden talks about the intersecting challenges of being by his son Beau’s side throughout his fatal illness, his global work as vice president and grappling with the decision whether to run for president in 2016.
I wanted to write precisely about the crises and dilemmas I faced as they intersected in the moment. I wanted to show that in the ebb and flow of life, nothing is totally separable. As much as I try to compartmentalize, what you’re doing in one phase of your life washes over and affects the others.
Biden has since sat down with Oprah Winfrey and NBC’s Megyn Kelly, among others, consistently putting off the question of presidential ambitions for 2020.
On Monday’s “Megyn Kelly TODAY” show, Biden remarked that he’s not ready to commit to a presidential run just yet. “No…You shouldn’t run unless you can give your whole heart and soul. I’m not ready. There’s so much more to do…”
He was joined on the NBC show by wife Dr. Jill Biden, who had kind words for First Lady Melania Trump. “I think she’s doing great…She has grace. She shows poise. She’s interested in a lot of things. I know she’s trying to do a lot with military families, which means a lot to me and Joe…”
Later, the former vice president faced some tough questioning towards the end of the segment with the former Fox News anchor about the tone of political dialogue in the country, with Kelly suggesting both sides needed to accept blame.
“Well look,” said Biden, “I’m speaking for myself and what I think has to change. And what has to change is the way we conduct out political rhetoric. I mean, our children are listening…”
A speaking tour promoting “Promise Me Dad” will take Biden to 16 cities between now and December 14, including Nashville, Denver and Portland, Oregon.