Letter From Washington: The Unbranding

Joseph Biden, the senior senator from Delaware, is the Democratic Party's main spokesman on international affairs; he is also a man who, on occasion, seems not to know, when sentences leave his mouth, where they are going or what they are meant to convey. Sometimes, when he thinks that he may shock or amuse his listener, he begins by stating, "I'm going to get in trouble if I say this," or, "This is a really outrageous thing to say, but . . . " And so when I asked Biden, as the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and one of John Kerry's chief advisers on foreign policy during last year's Presidential campaign, what advice he gave Kerry on how to convince voters that he was tough, Biden laughed and said, "I wish I could tell you. I wish I could tell you." Then he told me.

At sixty-two, Biden has a cheerful vanity and an exuberant restlessness that make him seem far younger.
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