By Jordan Fabian - 09/10/15 08:25 PM EDT
Biden opens up on loss of his son, tough 2016 decision
Vice President Biden on Thursday made it clear he’s very much undecided on whether to run for president in 2016 during a wide-ranging interview on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”
In a discussion that frequently turned emotional, Colbert prodded Biden to speak about the loss of his son Beau, his faith and his plans for next year. The late-night host virtually begged Biden to run, saying he would “be sorely missed in the race” if he does not.
But Biden said he is still in the process of deciding whether to enter the Democratic presidential field. He said nobody should run for the nation’s highest office “unless they are willing to give it 110 percent” of their heart and soul.
“I’d be lying if I said that I knew I was there,” Biden said. “I’m being completely honest.”
Speculation has increased that Biden is poised to make a White House run since he has hit the road to test out his message for a possible campaign.
But the vice president has repeatedly questioned whether he has the “emotional fuel” to run while his family is still grieving the death of Beau, who reportedly encouraged him to run before he passed away in May.
Prompted by Colbert to speak about his son, Biden recalled an adage from his mother that “as long as you are alive, you have an obligation to strive.”
“I feel like I was letting down Beau, letting down my parents, letting down my family if I didn't just get up,” Biden said.
The vice president’s grief was on full display during the interview, choking up several times when talking about his son. He said he broke down while greeting military service members in Denver after one of the troops mentioned he served with Beau in Iraq.
“I lost it,” the vice president recalled.
Biden was able to relate to Colbert, who lost his father and two brothers in a plane crash when he was 10 years old.
"You're one of them, old buddy. Losing your dad when you're a kid. It's like asking what made your mother do it every day?" Biden asked.
"She had to take care of me,” Colbert replied.
"I imagine that would be a hell of a job,” Biden said.
While the interview was mostly serious, Biden and Colbert shared a few laughs.
Colbert asked Biden whether he had “anything to tell us about your plans.” Biden said yes, but it wasn’t the announcement the late-night host was hoping for.
"I think you should run for president and I’ll be your vice president,” Biden joked.
He also joked about his second-fiddle role at the White House when the microphone cut out at the beginning of the interview.
"By the way, they do this to me at the White House all the time, shut my mic off,” Biden said.
But when the conversation returned to Biden’s future plans, he remained coy, though he said he remains buoyant in the face of personal tragedy.
"I'm optimistic. I'm positive about where we're going,” he said. “But I find myself ... you understand, sometimes it just sort of overwhelms you.”
Colbert ended the interview with something for Biden to consider while he ponders his decision.
“It's going to be emotional for a lot of people if you don't run,” he said. “Your example of suffering and service is something that would be sorely missed in the race."