Appearing on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” Thursday night, Vice President Joseph Biden said that he’d “be lying” if he were to say he was ready to commit to a run for the 2016 presidential race.
Biden’s appearance on the first week of Colbert’s show raised some speculation that he would give more hints on which way he was leaning. Instead, according to a pool report, the interview was emotional, as Biden recounted stories of his son, Beau, who died in June.
“I don’t think any man or woman should run for president unless, number one, they know exactly why they would want to be president, and two, they can look at folks out there and say, ‘I promise you have my whole heart, my whole soul, my energy and my passion,'” Biden said.
“And I’d be lying if I said I knew I was there. I’m being completely honest. Nobody has a right, in my view, to seek that office unless they are willing to give it 110 percent of who they are.”
Colbert encouraged Biden to run, telling him, “It’s going to be emotional for a lot of people if you don’t run. Your example of suffering and service is something that would be sorely missed in the race.”
Much of the interview was spent talking about Beau Biden, with the vice president telling Colbert that a few months before his son died, he said to him, “Dad, I know how much you love me. Promise me you’re going to be all right.”
Colbert offered condolences, and asked about Biden’s faith. According to the pool report, he said that his wife, Jill, tapes notes for him on their bathroom mirror, and once put a note from Kierkegaard, the philosopher, that said, “Faith sees best in the dark.”
He also mentioned another expression, from his mother: “As long as you are alive, you have an obligation to strive, and you’re not dead until you see the face of God.”
“No one owes you anything,” Biden said. “You gotta get up. And I feel like I was letting down Beau, letting down my parents, letting down my family if I didn’t just get up.”
He also noted that Colbert dealt with tragedy when his father and two brothers were killed in an airplane crash.
“You’re one of them, old buddy,” Biden said. “Losing your dad when you were a kid. It’s like asking what made your mother do it every day.”
“She had to take care of me,” Colbert responded.
“I imagine that would be a hell of a job,” Biden said.
Biden will be in Los Angeles next week to address the U.S.-China Climate Leaders Summit.