Joe Biden was the source for an August New York Times column that documented the vice president's son's deathbed plea that Biden run for president. Politico reports:
Joe Biden has been making his 2016 deliberations all about his late son since August.
Aug. 1, to be exact — the day renowned Hillary Clinton-critic Maureen Dowd published a column that marked a turning point in the presidential speculation.
According to multiple sources, it was Biden himself who talked to her, painting a tragic portrait of a dying son, Beau’s face partially paralyzed, sitting his father down and trying to make him promise to run for president because "the White House should not revert to the Clintons and that the country would be better off with Biden values.”
When Dowd's column initially ran, Bill Kristol speculated that Biden was the source:
Ask this question: Who gave Maureen Dowd the details of the conversations between Joe Biden and his sons? The details are, after all, pretty ... detailed: There are direct quotations from Beau, Hunter, and Joe; a sentence capturing the thought process of Joe; a brief description of Beau's physical state. It's great reporting, and it's a story well-told; but we can ask, how did Maureen Dowd know this? Who was willing and able to give her this level of detail?
Surely not a political aide or associate. Surely not a normal family friend. Perhaps there's a very close family friend or two in whom Joe Biden (or Jill, or Hunter) would have confided these conversations—but surely such a friend wouldn't have spoken to Maureen Dowd without Joe Biden's okay.
So Joe Biden may have authorized a friend to speak to Maureen Dowd. Or Joe Biden may have spoken to her himself. Or perhaps Jill or Hunter Biden spoke with her. Who knows the details and circumstances? One can easily imagine, for example, one of the Bidens telling a sympathetic Dowd the story, off-the-record, of their beloved son and brother's last wishes—and then, a few weeks later perhaps, yielding to Dowd's request that she be able to report at least some of what she was told in print.
Let me be clear: I'm not criticizing either the Bidens or Dowd. I'm simply pointing out that when you think about who could be the source of Dowd's extraordinary account—you'd have to be crazy to think Joe Biden isn't awfully serious about running for president.
Biden, who is still considering a run for president, will not attend next week's Democratic primary debate.