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Sunday, April 18, 2021

Vice President Joe Biden’s Moment in the Spotlight

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The moment that seemed to stand out in the four-person debate Thursday night was Joe Biden, The New York Times has learned.

Biden, who appears on the cover of the magazine’s Sunday edition, met with the paper’s Managing Editor Dean Baquet on Monday.

His appearance in the paper’s newsroom Friday—the fifth day of intense campaigning for him by current and former aides to Hillary Clinton—took place after an emotional phone call Wednesday night with Clinton, who made the phone call on her way back from a trip to New Hampshire. The two discussed their daughters’ struggle with the disease, as well as the deep concerns Biden felt about her continued bid to become president.

Both were clearly moved by their talk, and Clinton told Baquet that her former colleague is “very resolute.”

That presence in the newsroom must be a ray of light, considering all the events scheduled for Biden before the election.

A former Justice Department prosecutor, Biden often spoke of the “deja vu” of the case against Al Gore’s recount efforts in Florida. Despite losing the popular vote in that election to George W. Bush, Gore had gone on to be elected vice president.

Biden offered some new details in explaining that he was also “pissed off,” even though the election outcome was final.

“She won that election by 1 million votes and you had me there, I stood outside the exit, I watched the exit polls get thrown out, I went to the courthouse in West Palm Beach… It was an abomination,” Biden told Baquet.

His feelings helped in pushing him to do more to help Gore.

Biden served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee during the 2000 election and was working with Gore’s legal team in the recount fight, when he was invited to help with a fundraiser for the Florida recount.

“The next day, I went down there and stood in that doorway, I spoke to the Supreme Court justices, I handed the (recount) paperwork over and I was involved in actually completing Al Gore’s case,” Biden recalled.

Hillary Clinton, in a speech that aired Friday night, congratulated her former rival and her family for what she called “an incredibly brave man, and an extraordinary vice president.”

The 19-second video clip of the videotaped tribute to Biden, which was shared in the Times lobby Thursday night, contains at least three keys Biden moments.

Biden opening his arms to Clinton: “I’m so proud of you, and I know you’re holding tight… you were never out of shape, you were never stressed,” he said.

Biden on Clinton’s concession speech: “The day after Election Day … it really haunted me…. That the president-elect would take away this … dignity from me, ” he said.

Biden’s wave to Clinton: “She asked me to ‘blow off some steam’ on the phone… I did,” he said.

While campaigning for Clinton, Biden said that he considered the race over, until he received an unusual call from Bill Clinton, suggesting that Biden, rather than himself, should be their running mate. He agreed.

The vice president endorsed Clinton four days before the election.

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