Joe Biden had a decision to make.
It was December 1972, and his daughter, Naomi, and wife, Neilia, had just been killed in a car accident. Biden was in Washington—he’d just been elected to the Senate at age 30, but not yet sworn in—when he heard the news about his family. His sons, Hunter and Beau, were injured in the accident, and Joe Biden was left a single parent.
“We, not the Senate, were all he cared about,” his son Beau, who died this spring, said in a 2008 speech. “He decided not to take the oath of office. He said, ‘Delaware can get another senator, but my boys can't get another father.’ However, great men like Ted Kennedy, Mike Mansfield, Hubert Humphrey—men who had been tested themselves—convinced him to serve. So he was sworn in, in the hospital, at my bedside.”
Fast-forward 43 years and Joe Biden, whose career has spanned Senate chairmanships and the vice presidency of the United States, is faced with a tragically similar decision. Just over three months after Beau Biden died after a battle with brain cancer at age 46, Joe Biden is very publicly reconciling his decades-old dream of winning a presidential election with the emotional load he and his family have to bear.
In an interview that aired Thursday evening on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Joe Biden confessed he isn’t any closer to announcing his intentions to the American people, even as speculation about the political capital he has to spend continue to persist and a super PAC hoping to draft him into the race staffs up in Iowa.