For the first time in 19 years, Delaware Senator Joe Biden is in Iowa meeting with Democrats as he prepares for a possible run for the White House in 2008.
When he was 42 years old, Biden launched a bid to win the Democratic presidential nomination. But Biden dropped out of the race in the fall of 1987 after admitting he’d quoted part of a speech given by a British politician without acknowledging the words were not his own. “I learned that I was an arrogant young guy who was 42 years old, that in fact you have to be a whole lot more prepared. I learned that it’s never too late to correct a mistake,” Biden says. “I learned you shouldn’t lose your temper.”
Biden suffered two brain aneurysms just about the time of the 1988 New Hampshire primary and Biden predicts he’d have been dead if he’d still been in the race because he would have refused to go to the hospital. “So it all works out for the best, but I hope I’ve been chastened. Hopefully I’m a better person. Hopefully I am a little more mature,” Biden says. “But the most important thing I learned from all of that is that no one event, no one thing is so critical that it makes or breaks your chances of being President of the United States of America. It’s a marathon.”
Biden says his view of the future tells him he won’t be able to accomplish much as a United States Senator — other than to “stop bad things” — so he’s concluded running for president is his best option to make an impact. “If you’re going to deal with the things I care deeply about — restoring our place in the world and leveling the playing field for average folks out there — the only place you can do it is from the White House,” Biden says.
Biden, who is now 63 years old, contends he’s spent much of his 33 years in the U.S. Senate focused on world affairs and national security, and that positions him in the pack of politicians pondering a presidential run in ’08. “I know what I think. I know what I want to do with the country. I don’t have any doubts about it,” Biden says. “I’m just going to say what I think and if the folks of Iowa like it, then I’ve got a shot.”
Over the next few days, Biden will help Iowa Democrats raise money and he’ll campaign with candidates on the November ballot. Biden’s first stop in Iowa, though, was at the statehouse to talk with Governor Tom Vilsack, who is also thinking about running for president. “I just stopped and got my passport from the governor allowing me to be in the state,” Biden joked with reporters.
Biden’s tendency for such flippant remarks drew headlines earlier this summer when Biden told a crowd that he thinks he’d be a good president, but as far as the job of president goes, he’d rather be home making love to his wife. “I’m happy. I mean, I have a magnificently beautiful wife I’ve been with for going on 30 years after losing my first wife. I have three wonderful kids (who) are grown. I have five granddaughters. I have my health and so, you know, I’d be lying to you when I was asked the question…’Are you really looking forward to (running for president)?'” Biden told Iowa reporters Thursday evening. “I’m not looking forward to it. I think it’s important to do.”
You can listen to Biden’s question-and-answer session with reporters in Des Moines on the link below.