In an interview with The Late Show host Stephen Colbert, Vice President Joe Biden revealed deeply-personal insight about his son, Beau, who passed away at 46 from a brain tumor in late May. His tragic death sparked a nation in mourning and left the vice president visibly distraught, a sensation that has yet to wane amid speculation of a 2016 presidential run. Regardless of political plans, the event deepened the public's general feelings of inspiration, compassion and devotion to the country's second-in-command.
"Mr. Vice President, there's another reason I think people admire you and like you…is that you're a man of substance. People know that you have experienced tragedies in your life and we're inspired by the way that you have responded to those," Colbert said frankly. "And for myself I think, I suspect for millions of people out there, I'd like to offer my condolences for the loss of your son, Beau."
Biden was visibly moved by the statement, keeping his head down and listening intently. Colbert wasn't speaking solely of Beau's death, but also the loss of Biden's first wife, Neilia, and 1-year-old daughter, Naomi, when their car was struck by a tractor-trailer in 1972 around Christmas.
Despite the intensity of the subject, when Colbert asked him if he would share some thoughts about his beloved son, the vice president didn't miss a beat.
"My dad had this expression. He used to say, 'You know you're a success as a parent when you turn and look at your child and realize they turned out better than you," the vice president recounted. "I was a hell of a success. My son was better than me and he was better than me in almost every way."
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In typical Joe Biden fashion, he couldn't let the interview be solely about his feelings. Instead, he acknowledged his constituents who he argued have faced far more difficult battles.
"It's a little embarrassing this being about me. There are so many people, maybe some people in the audience, who've had losses as severe or worse than mine and didn't have the incredible support I have."
While we may be inspired by the Biden's incredible strength amidst such despair, it seems he draws his strength from the American people themselves. "I marvel at the ability of people to absorb hurt and just get back up and most of them do it with an incredible sense of empathy to other people."