On Sunday Harry Thermal of Delaware Online ran a story that said he had the following conversation with the Veep:
Now, one year later, he is dismayed by what has happened to the Senate, and he is trying to convince a reluctant son to run for his former seat.
Our conversation ended with a surprising request from the vice president as he hurried off to a national security meeting. Spontaneously, he turned to the possible Delaware senatorial campaign of his son Beau.
Biden: “If you run into Beau, talk him into running; he respects you.”
Me: “I don’t think he wants to run, though.”
Biden: “I don’t think he does either. I know he doesn’t want to. … I’m so proud of the job he’s done [as attorney general].”
I doubt Beau Biden “respects” me, but it was quite startling to hear the vice president confirm what many Democrats fear — that Beau does not want to be the candidate.
Later Thermal ran a correction and said that Biden was actually referring to Ted Kaufman, a long time Biden aide who was appointed to fill out Biden’s term in the Senate. Kaufman has never indicated that he has any interest in running for the remaining four year term, and it was assumed in Delaware that he was keeping the senate seat warm for Beau Biden. The correction sounds implausible. From the context it appears clear that Biden was talking about his son and was alarmed when Thermal ran with the story.
Why he was alarmed about the story became clear when Beau Biden released an “I will not run” statement on Monday.
As many of you know, since returning home from Iraq, I have been giving serious consideration to running for the United States Senate. I have received strong encouragement both here in Delaware and all across the country to undertake this effort – and this outpouring of support has truly been humbling.
I understand why people care so deeply about this election. The challenges we’re facing as a country are extraordinarily difficult. The economy. Jobs. Health care. Energy. Education. Climate change. Financial regulation. Foreign policy. These are not only the issues of the moment – they’re the issues that will determine our children’s future. And as someone who has had the privilege of serving with the bravest men and women on this planet, I care deeply about how we treat our returning veterans and how we resolve our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I feel strongly about these issues. However, my first responsibilities are here in Delaware. I have a duty to fulfill as Attorney General – and the immediate need to focus on a case of great consequence. And that is what I must do. Therefore I cannot and will not run for the United States Senate in 2010. I will run for reelection as Attorney General.
One of the primary reasons I ran for Attorney General was to protect the most vulnerable among us: children. As the father of two young children, I can think of no worse crime than those committed by child predators. It is why one of my first actions and top priorities as Attorney General was the creation of the Child Predator Task Force.
The idea that any child can be a victim of abuse is horrific. The fact that it has engulfed an entire community is unspeakable. The pain and trauma suffered by the children, their parents, and the families, can’t be measured. But justice can be done. And I am determined to see that it is.
I have a job to finish. And that’s what I must do.
Thank you for all your support,
Biden not running makes Republican Mike Castle, current Congressman and former governor of Delaware, the odds on favorite to win the Senate seat in November. The Veep might want to consider in future that using a columnist to attempt to persuade a relative to run for an office might not be the most effective way of going about it.