Joe Biden’s Raw, Emotional Interview With Stephen Colbert Is Riveting Television

The vice president, stripped bare by grief, speaks about Beau, faith, and the 2016 race.

"I would feel like I'd let Beau down if I didn't just get up."CBS/YouTube

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At one point, Stephen Colbert’s third-night audience at the Ed Sullivan Theater in Manhattan broke into a chant: “Joe, Joe, Joe!”

“Be careful what you wish for!” Vice President Joe Biden joked, his famous smile flashing to applause. It’s little wonder the audience was responding in this way. Biden was giving perhaps the most frank, intimate, and emotional interview a politician has given in recent memory—a major score for Colbert’s new show, and a rare chance for Americans to see their second-in-command speak so eloquently about grief, faith, and family.

The newsiest part of The Late Show interview on CBS was, of course, Biden telling Colbert that he didn’t feel like he was emotionally ready to run for president in 2016 after the recent death from brain cancer of his son Beau. (Biden has reportedly been exploring a run for the White House with donors and supporters in recent weeks.)

“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, and, I’d be lying if I said that 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.”

But there was so much more to this interview, littered as it was with wise quotes from Biden’s mother and characterized by a mutual warmth between two men that have suffered great tragedies in their lives. (Colbert lost his father and two brothers in a plane crash.) But the most emotional and revealing parts were when Biden spoke about his son Beau, who died of brain cancer in May: “I was a hell of a success. My son was better than me. He was better than me in every way.”

Watch below:

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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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