Former US Vice President Joe Biden spoke at Colgate University on March 24 as part of their Global Leaders series, where he explained how the death of his son, Beau Biden, impacted his decision not to run for president. Following is a transcript of the video.
I had planned on running for president and although it would have been a very difficult primary, I think I could’ve won. I don’t know, maybe not. But I thought I could’ve won. And I had a lot of data and I was fairly confident that if I were the Democratic Party’s nominee I had a better than even chance of being president.
When I said I would make a decision by the fall, the following fall, one year before the general election — everybody’s announced well before then. The press began to think I was playing a game. But I couldn’t tell them, about my boy. He didn’t want anybody feeling sorry for him. And he wanted me to run, but … people who are close say well I didn’t run because it wasn’t good for the family. I have to be honest with you, I didn’t run because no man or woman should announce for president of the United States unless they can look the public in the eye and say, I promise you I’m giving 100% my attention and dedication to this effort. I knew I couldn’t do that. I knew I couldn’t do it. Because he kept saying don’t announce you’re not running — because my son Hunter, and my daughter Ashley, my wife, all thought I should. I didn’t. But at the end of the day, I just couldn’t do it.
So … I don’t regret not running in the sense that it was right decision for my boy, for me, for my family at the time. But do I regret not being president? Yes. And I know that sounds, I know what it sounds like, but no man or woman announces for president of the United States unless they honestly believe from their experience they’re the best qualified person to do that. And at the time I thought that the circumstances were such that I was the best qualified. Not every year would you be the best qualified. But the things that I’ve spent my whole life doing: American foreign policy, I — the ability to bring people together, the — the respect on both sides of the aisle. I thought there was a need to bring the country together and I thought I could’ve done it.
But you know, as my mother would say, everything happens for a reason. And … I’m being as honest as I can possibly be to you. Do I regret not being president? Yes. Do I regret not running for president? In light of what was going on in my life at the time, no, I don’t regret. I made the right decision.
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