Media Advisory: NPR News Interviews Former Vice-President Joe Biden NPR's Michel Martin spoke with former Vice President Joe Biden to discuss his new book: Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose.
NPR logo Media Advisory: NPR News Interviews Former Vice-President Joe Biden

Media Advisory: NPR News Interviews Former Vice-President Joe Biden

Former Vice President Joe Biden participates in a discussion on bridging political and partisan divides with Ohio Gov. John Kasich at the University of Delaware in Newark, Del., last month. Patrick Semansky/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Patrick Semansky/AP

Former Vice President Joe Biden participates in a discussion on bridging political and partisan divides with Ohio Gov. John Kasich at the University of Delaware in Newark, Del., last month.

Patrick Semansky/AP

Tuesday, November 14th; In an interview airing on Wednesday's Morning Edition and Saturday's All Things Considered, NPR's Michel Martin spoke with former Vice President Joe Biden to discuss his new book: Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose. They also discussed his late son Beau, the current political and social climates, and the prospect of running for the Presidency.

Stations and broadcast times are available at NPR.org/stations.

Excerpts of the interview are available below and can be cited with attribution. The full transcript will be made available on Saturday after part two of the interview has aired.

On whether Hillary Clinton did something wrong in her campaign:
"No, I think, look, I think she got caught in a vortex."

On whether believed that he could defeat President Trump in 2016:
"You don't know unless you're in the arena. You don't know. What I do know is, and the data I was given, the polling data in the states that were lost, I was in pretty good shape: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, you know blue collar industrial states. And, one of the reasons Barack asked me to be on the ticket back in 2008 was because of Pennsylvania. And so, that's sort of always been my strength..."

"...I would have thought any of the outrageous stuff he continued to talk about would be enough to sink a candidate... (BUT) As long as he [Trump] could keep it off an issue, he was in a position where as unpopular as he was, he was still in the game. And if you take a look – look at the tactic the President's people use now. When they start to lose on healthcare, their attempt to rip apart health care, what do they do? They go full bore - in the middle of a campaign to go after healthcare – about Kaepernick, whether or not he's kneeling or standing... picking a fight with the NFL. And you think 'Why? Why would they do that?" When he started... he had the big week he was going to do infrastructure and it went nowhere, so what did he do? He started talking about - you know, again, 'Crooked Hillary' or whatever the heck he did."

"So I realized about a month out [from the election] that this was a very effective campaign technique. When you can keep it off the issues, it just comes down to who can damage the other candidate the most."

On Democrats losing local government seats:
"The president would be the first to tell you - I don't think nearly enough attention was paid [by Democrats]to supporting local races, local candidates. Whereas the Republicans did."

On Donna Brazile suggesting the Clinton campaign controlled the DNC, and that Brazile considered replacing Clinton with Biden at the top of the ticket:
"No one ever talked to me about replacing her. Had they, I would have made it clear I would not be any part of that. That's number one. Number two, what I've noticed, whoever the candidate is, controls the DNC..."

"...So I didn't find anything unusual in the putative nominee being the person who was the dominant force in the DNC."

On the DNC being out of touch:
"I think there's some truth in it."

On whether he thinks the Russians interfered in the 2016 election:
"I know they did. I don't 'think.' I know they did..."

"I'm not going to speculate on to what end, I assume to help elect Trump, because all the negative stuff was directed against Hillary, number one. Number two, there is overwhelming evidence. We were, I've been briefed before I left on it when I still had the clearance, and every single solitary major institution having to do with the intelligence community says they interfered..."

"...They were at a minimum trying to invoke some sense of chaos into the election, and I think it's pretty clear they were hoping their efforts would help elect Donald Trump."

On the Trump Administration rolling back Obama-Era policies and the events in Charlottesville:
"It's distasteful, number one, it's sad, number two, but I still have hope, because I think on the big policies... for example, as usual I got, not in trouble, but I got criticized for saying, immediately after they got elected, them saying they're going to repeal Obamacare, I jokingly said 'lots of luck on their senior year, they're not going to be able to repeal it.' And I was right. They can damage it, but not repeal it. They're not going to be able to turn back what Barack and I did on gay rights and what we did on basic human rights. They're gonna make it harder, they're gonna slow it up, but they're not gonna repeal it. The American people have already crossed the Rubicon on the vast majority of these things. Where they are going to do damage, and they continue to do damage, and the place I can't remain silent, is when they attack basic fundamental ideals about what constitutes being an American. The idea that we had these guys coming out from under rocks and out of the woods carrying torches and chanting Nazi slogans, anti-Semitic slogans in a historic town in the United States of America, carrying Nazi flags, with white supremacists behind them, and that not being absolutely condemned – silence is complicity. Not only was it not condemned, you had the President making a relative comparison between those there to stop them and those people. That is, that is sick. That is dangerous. That's not who we are as Americans. That's the part I find the most damaging. The most dangerous..."

"...You know why we're the most powerful nation in the world. It's not just the example of our power, it's the power of our example."

On Anita Hill, Clarence Thomas, and harassment in the news:
"I believed her allegations and said so. Number one. Number two, that was 25 years ago and we've learned a lot since then. Number three... I talked then about harassment being a major, major social issue that we're not confronting. Number four, that's why I wrote, I personally, with my own hand, wrote the violence against women act..."

"...(Writing the Violence Against Women Act) the pride and joy of my career. And now we have a chance to fundamentally change the culture."

"...The part that I feel badly (about) is, Anita Hill did not get treated fairly."

About whether this is a watershed moment in terms of sexual harassment:
"I do think we're at that moment..."

"...This is all about the abuse of power. Clarence Thomas was her boss. Weinstein controlled the careers of so many people. All the people you see now are a bunch of cowards..."

"...It's about abuse of power, and these guys deserve to be in jail."

On Running for President in 2020:
"The answer is no. I have no plans on running in 2020. My focus is on my boy. I want people to know what an incredible man he was, and I want people to understand that there is hope afterwards. He's still with me. Your loved one is still with you. And I'm going to do everything I can to elect a Democratic congress. But... what people want me to say is 'Under no circumstances will I run.' That would be a foolish thing to say. I don't know what's going to happen two years from now. But I've done nothing organizationally or structurally or in any other way to prepare to run for President. That is not in the cards now."

Contact:

Ben Fishel, NPR Media Relations
Email: mediarelations (at) npr.org