Margaret Talev: Why Joe Biden Wanted Barack Obama to Deliver His Son’s Eulogy

Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama went through the fires together: two presidential campaigns, economic collapse, war, terrorism, destabilization of the Arab world and societal change that spawned the Tea Party and gay marriage waves simultaneously. But aides say it is the men’s shared experience with personal grief, and an unexpected bonding of their wives, daughters and grandchildren, more than their tests as officeholders, that have turned a political partnership between two men separated by race, age and temperament into a deep, if mostly unsung, friendship.

President Barack Obama embraces Vice President Joe Biden in the Oval Office after a meeting on the budget, April 8, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

That’s a dynamic many Americans will see on Saturday, when Obama delivers the eulogy for Biden’s son Beau, a husband, father, veteran and rising political star who seemed destined to carry on his father’s legacy before his death from brain cancer on May 30 at age 46. Obama called Biden on the night Beau died. By the time the call ended, he had been tasked with a humbling assignment: To say the final words about Beau that the vice president and his wife Jill are too grief-stricken to utter. “The president . . . has this reputation for being cold or distant—but he isn’t,” Klain said. “For the people in his orbit, the people he has a chance to get to know, he has a real sense of family” and the Bidens “are part of that. I think it’s a loss that he feels personally.” Biden wanted Obama to deliver the eulogy because he felt that Obama would know instinctively what the family would want others to know about Beau.


Earlier this year, on St. Patrick’s Day, Biden addressed a group in Pennsylvania and recounted how he had felt when researchers discovered that his own great-great grandfather and Obama’s great-great-great grandfather each had been shoemakers in Ireland who emigrated within five weeks of one another. “I thought to myself, isn’t that the Irish of it,” Biden said. “All their dreams, could they ever [have] dreamed 160 years later, two shoemakers’ great, great grandsons would be sworn in as President and Vice President of the United States of America.”

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President Barack Obama talks with Vice President Joe Biden in the presidential box during the inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue en route to the White House, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, in Washington. Thousands marched during the 57th Presidential Inauguration parade after the ceremonial swearing-in of President Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)



53 Responses to “Family”

  1. 1 taiping1
    June 5, 2015 at 11:08 pm

    Friends. Hearts open. Love endures

    • June 6, 2015 at 1:24 am

      What an insightful, gracious comment, taiping. TY!

      TY, NW, for honoring actual #FamilyValues – the Values the Obamas and Bidens live and deliver every day irrespective of the heart crushing challenges they endure.

      • 3 Nerdy Wonka
        June 6, 2015 at 7:57 am


      • 4 taiping1
        June 6, 2015 at 9:48 am

        Thanks. What I love about the Obama’s and Bidens is their heart, embrace of family and friends and of the wider world. They have an integrity that the press does not have a model for, hence the mischaracterizations (“aloof” “arrogant” “bumbling”). They inspire the devotion of a diverse community represented here and the incredible dedication and energy of our BTs, especially Chips and NW. So many of us joined Twitter because of our love for this administration rather than for any particular attraction to tweeting. Thankfully we hVe a way to push back against the media jackals.

  2. 5 desertflower
    June 5, 2015 at 11:08 pm

    Family. I will be thinking of them tomorrow…and crying with them as they say goodbye to Beau. My heart aches.

  3. 6 Nerdy Wonka
    June 5, 2015 at 11:10 pm

    I wish them both comfort and strength tomorrow.

    • June 6, 2015 at 1:32 am

      “I wish them both comfort and strength tomorrow.”

      Me too, Nerdy Wonka! I am glad President Obama wil step in to deliver the eulogy for Beau Biden. VP Biden and his family are going through the most difficult time in their lives. When I lost my 16 year-old daughter to brain cancer, 22 years ago, I could hardly find strength to speak coherently without crying. I am forever grateful for family and dear friends who stepped in to honor her brief but memorable life.

      By the way, I wanted to thank you, Chips, LL, and the entire wonderful TOD family for the love you’ve shown for our wonderful VP Biden’s family. In times like this, the only thing that matters is love.

      • 8 Nerdy Wonka
        June 6, 2015 at 7:58 am

        My condolences to you , Nath. I’m sure your daughter, now up above, knows she was loved and cherished.

        Thank you also for your always kind words.

      • June 6, 2015 at 8:57 am

        My heart goes out to you, {{{{nathkatun}}}}.

      • 10 57andfemale
        June 6, 2015 at 9:05 am

        Oh, dear Nath. I am so sorry for your loss.

        My 11 year old sister died of a brain aneurysm. I was born 11 months later, and although I never knew her, who she was and the loss of her colored my life. My brother (15 years my senior) knew were very different parents than the parents that I knew. I never felt like a replacement – I was loved for who I was, such a testament to the parents whom were both gone by the time I was 21 years old. But the lives of the survivors are forever changed. My brother and I shared the deepest bond and friendship after the loss of our parents. Would we have discovered each other in the same way if our parents had lived longer? What an irony of the love that is found out of loss.

        Hearts open, love endures — that is everything. Love is especially cherished by those who know loss – nothing is taken for granted. An ironic gift for such enduring such loss.

        I am so grateful to my TOD family. We are all Bidens today. We are all Family.

      • 11 MightyPamela
        June 6, 2015 at 6:13 pm

        {{{{{ Nath ❤ Daughter ❤ }}}}}

  4. June 5, 2015 at 11:12 pm

    They are the most beautiful duo…I trully love these two men.. God bless them always..

  5. 13 MightyPamela
    June 5, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    I will be watching with you all tomorrow, live. As desperately as I need sleep, I would not miss the present moment of a task so momentous as this, by one of the most loving Hearts ever to beat within the body of a man, to grace and soothe, and heal, the Heart of another of the most loving Hearts ever to beat within the body of a man. PBO & VPBiden. God will be with you and your families, and we will be with you in our Hearts. Goodnight, TOD. Get some rest. ❤

    • 14 jacquelineoboomer
      June 5, 2015 at 11:19 pm

      What you wrote just gave me chills! Thanks for the beautiful words and rest well, MP. ❤

    • June 5, 2015 at 11:20 pm

      I will be watching too. There is no one else better to delivery the eulogy than President Obama.

    • 16 Roberta in MN
      June 6, 2015 at 8:37 am

      MP, how is your shoulder doing? And your new neighbor? Has she got the time zones down right so you can get a good nights sleep? Have a restful night. MP.

  6. 17 jacquelineoboomer
    June 5, 2015 at 11:17 pm

    You have a very tender heart, NW, which is obvious to the most casual observer. Thank you for this beauty.

  7. June 5, 2015 at 11:24 pm

    I am always flummoxed by this ‘cold’.’aloof’ thing people say about the president. I think his warmth shines though every picture that’s ever been taken of him. I think he’s one of those people who gives anyone he’s talking with his total attention no matter how important or unimportant they are. The way he interacts with babies, children, old people, and everyone in between, shows the depth of his caring. I don’t know how you could be around him two minutes and not feel it.

    • 23 jacquelineoboomer
      June 5, 2015 at 11:41 pm

      Sounds like a type of psychological projection to me, on the part of those calling him that. In my layperson’s terms, I have long thought that the “aloof” characterization could have been made up by people who didn’t understand that when they had seen or heard him , they were so far removed from his gentleness and warmth and sincerity and openness that they couldn’t recognize it, he was the antithesis of their own core, it made them feel lesser, they couldn’t connect, and they spit out the first thing they thought of, to take the heat off themselves.

      For a change, I think this is separate from the racism many people live by, which surfaces up when they think of our President and all his fine qualities.

      • 24 theo67
        June 6, 2015 at 12:04 am

        So true.

      • 25 MightyPamela
        June 6, 2015 at 6:23 pm

        JO’B, it seems to be when the Heart Center of another is not yet awakened, not able to vibrate to a higher awareness, they are unable to resonate, to gain from and return the energy. I know millions of us who have not met PBO, likely will never meet him, but are able to recognize and embrace the flow of compassion and genuine love for humanity which beats within him every single day. We are the ones who are blessed, as we are the ones who help him most in the work he was born to do. He said it so often, all along, it’s not about him. That Heart Center is a Universal energy portal ~ every single one of us is capable of resonating to it, and that resonance is beginning to reverberate around the world. We needed a leader such as President Barack Obama, to focus with us on the task. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. TOD came into being as a conduit for many of us to express that energy, even the lurkers, maybe especially the lurkers, benefit, share, trade, laughter, humility, genuine caring. Making the world a little bit better. What an honor, what grace, to be alive in these days of rising human effort. Such a gift. Such a rebirth of Hope. ❤

  8. 27 jacquelineoboomer
    June 5, 2015 at 11:27 pm

  9. 29 amk for obama
    June 5, 2015 at 11:27 pm

    “The president . . . has this reputation for being cold or distant,”

    3rd rate 4th estate’s bullshit of a lie.

    • June 5, 2015 at 11:32 pm

      I’ve never understood why they say that. Now I’m off to bed. Up and at it by 8:30 isn’t easy. 😎

      • 31 Sandy1110
        June 6, 2015 at 12:56 am

        It’s their way of trying to slam him for not being a Beltway schmooze. He won’t suck up to them or gladhand them, so they bite back.

    • 32 susanne
      June 6, 2015 at 12:08 am

      reply to those who say that: ‘no, he’s very warm and engaging…. unless he just doesn’t like you.’

    • June 6, 2015 at 1:41 am

      Exactly, AMK! First they make up a lie, then they repeat it, over and over again, claiming that it’s the truth.

  10. 34 desertflower
    June 5, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    Night all. Tomorrow comes too soon.

  11. June 5, 2015 at 11:43 pm

    Just catching up with all the posts from today. Beautiful pics and words as always. Tomorrow will be bitter sweet. I detest when ‘they’say that PBO is aloof. Could you find a more friendly, outgoing, funny, engaging man? No. It always comes back to him looking different. ‘They’ are so shallow and lacking in perception. It’s better to perpetuate the myth than find the truth.

  12. June 5, 2015 at 11:44 pm

    First pitcher since 1900…only second ever to throw both left & right handed in the same inning!

  13. 37 sjterrid
    June 5, 2015 at 11:45 pm

    Unfortunately, I have to go to a conference all day tomorrow, and won’t be home until late. I’ll set my DVR to record the Eulogy tomorrow, and watch it when I get home.

  14. June 5, 2015 at 11:48 pm

    I’m dying over here 😆

    Too bad the series is over with Kyrie breaking his knee-cap 😦

  15. June 5, 2015 at 11:49 pm

    All scared of brain injuries:

    • June 6, 2015 at 9:00 am

      I thought of you when I read this story last night. This is certainly fast becoming a trend. I hope he progresses well with his recuperation.

  16. 42 Judith Fardig
    June 5, 2015 at 11:59 pm

    NW, thank you for the blessing of this beautiful post. Barack Obama was really insightful when he choose Joe Biden to be his running mate. They are the most dynamic match. The fact that their wives are best friends too underscores what a remarkable team we have leading this country out of despair. Such a shame the GOP can’t see it and cooperate. Tomorrow will be hard, but these families have each other and we do too here at TOD.

  17. 46 hopefruit2
    June 6, 2015 at 12:59 am

    Hey amk… 🙂

  18. 48 jacquelineoboomer
    June 6, 2015 at 1:28 am

    Don’t worry, these fools won’t get anywhere close. (I found this part of the linked story to be particularly appalling: “The group protested during the 2010 funeral in Brandywine Hundred of Jean Finnegan Biden, Joe Biden’s mother.”)


    • 49 57andfemale
      June 6, 2015 at 9:07 am

      And will ANY of the faux pious bastard GOP speak up for decency? You won’t hear a word.

  19. June 6, 2015 at 1:33 am

    good night TOD

  20. June 6, 2015 at 9:04 am

    Thanks so much for this, Nerdy. Love you.

  21. 53 globalcitizenlinda
    June 6, 2015 at 9:46 am

    NW, you captured the relationship very nicely and pointed a light to the profound loss and sadness

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