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Joe Biden Pays Emotional Tribute to Meghan McCain: ‘Honest, Principled, Unsparing’

For Variety’s latest issue, we asked Joe Biden to write a tribute to Meghan McCain, one of 50 people to make our New Power of New York list. Here’s why McCain, a co-host of “The View,” represents a new generation of movers and shakers that capture the best of Manhattan. For the full list, click here.

As Meghan McCain climbed the podium to give her eulogy for her father, John McCain, I watched her from the front row in the magnificent Washington Cathedral alongside the other pallbearers.

Meghan had just lived through one of the most harrowing experiences one can go through: watching a loved one lose his life to one of the most brutal, unrelenting, unforgiving cancers one can suffer — glioblastoma of the brain. I know because just three years ago I lost my son Beau to the same disease. And I know what it does to those who suffer from the disease — as well as to the family and loved ones who watch its cruel progression.

I admired her courage. I couldn’t have spoken at Beau’s funeral. I remember how disorienting those first few days were after his passing. And I still know the deep, deep hole his passing has left in my heart. But there she was climbing those steps to face not only the family and friends and national leaders attending the beautiful service but the millions of people watching on television.

What would she say? How would she get through it?

As she began to speak, I thought this is too painful, this is too much to ask anyone to do. But then as she went on, I saw her strength grow. And as sad as the occasion was, I felt a small smile cross my face. And maybe it’s because I had spent so much time with John in the Senate, had traveled so many hundreds of thousands of miles with him across the world, had heard him so often — that I said to myself, “There’s John. I’m watching and seeing and hearing John from that podium. Honest, principled, unsparing — and more than a little willing to make people uncomfortable with the truth.” And when she said the line about asking her father what he wanted her to say in her eulogy and he answered: “Show them how tough you are,” I whispered to myself, “John, old buddy — guess what? She just did.”

Joe Biden served as the 47th vice president of the United States.

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