Biden promotes book, signals further ambitions in Louisville appearance

06/07/2018 09:54 PM

LOUISVILLE — Former Vice President Joe Biden stopped in Louisville on Thursday night for his American Promise Tour, promoting his book, and sharing stories of his life with those in attendance.

Thursday’s event in Louisville, Joe Biden American Promise Tour, was moderated by Jerry Abramson, Louisville’s former Mayor, the former Lt. Gov. under Steve Beshear, as well as Obama Administration White House alum, where he served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs. Abramson now serves as the Executive in Residence at Spalding University.

“If you listen to Barack you’d think I grew up in a coal mine with a lunch bucket in my hand,” Biden said to laughter about his actual upbringing in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

That wouldn’t be the only laugh line, or funny anecdote of the evening, but there were moments of solemn seriousness. Biden is promoting his book, Promise Me, Dad a reflection on losing his son Beau to cancer, and contemplating a run for the White House in 2016.

Responding to a question from Abramson, Biden said it would be presumptuous of him to write a memoir at his age, reminding the audience of the advice baseball pitcher Satchel Paige who said, ’how old would you be, if you didn’t know how old you are?’

The now 75 year old, said through laughs, in his view, he’s actually 42 years old.

The former Vice President said he wrote the current book, because he “wanted people to know about my boy,” Beau the former Attorney General of Delaware.

“I wanted to write a book about hope, there’s a reason for hope,” he said, mentioning losing his former wife and daughter in a car accident in 1972, and the push to keep going afterwards.

Biden said his son, Beau, who was fighting terminal cancer, “knew my instinct — I would just want to walk away — he said Dad, your entire life since you’ve been 18 years old has been public service… so Dad promise me, you’ll stay.”

A major focus of Biden’s a continuing initiative is to find a cure for cancer, something he spoke of at length during the discussion.

There were also many moments talking politics from the stage.

“It was a genuine honor to serve with Barack Obama … he was a great president,” Biden said to applause from the crowd. Biden remarked that initially he was a ‘no’ when Obama asked him to be his vice president.

Obama and Biden, he said, made an agreement that Biden would be the last person in the room with him before he made a decision. “It’s all about trust.”

For Biden, or as the internet knows him, Uncle Joe, there was also that signature humor.

“I want one thing to be clear — He made the first friendship bracelet, not me.”

While he did not mention President Trump by name, Biden did make overtures about the current occupant of the White House. He and Obama, “tried hard to give this President time to get started… The Bush Administration gave us time to get up and going,” he said.

“…But when Charlottesville occurred I couldn’t be silent anymore,” Biden said, he wrote a piece in the Atlantic about “Living through a battle for the soul of this nation.

“What leaders say matters. What presidents say matters,” Biden said continuing in his comments about the people there carrying torches, using racial epithets and signaling their agreement with White supremacy, “and the President making moral equivalency is extremely dangerous — and silence is complicity.”

In what essentially rang as a campaign for 2020 run against Trump, Biden sought to remind the audience of that which unites the American people.

“My dad used to say, ‘Joey, character is not built by one major encounter, it’s a thousand little things, a thousand little things that are done time, and time, and time over again and get back to the things you know — decency honor, honesty, giving hate no quarter, you’re not perfect all of the time, none of us are, but that’s who we are,” he said. “There’s no reason why America can’t get back on its feet and take this all back…because this is the finest nation in the world, and its needed by the rest of the world.”

Biden also touched on numerous world events before the nearly 2,000 people in attendance at the Kentucky Center, he was asked about Trump’s moves on the Trans Pacific Partnership, pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord, and revoking the Iran nuclear deal.

“Disaster,” Biden said. “I really mean it.”

“We’re yielding our leadership in the world,” he added. “We’re yielding.”

“The idea of walking away from Paris Climate agreement is the most – as – it’s sinful,” Biden said. “And the good news is, that most of the states and businesses are still abiding by it.”

On the Iran deal withdraw, Biden said it’s “absolutely, in my view, mindless.”

Numerous prominent Democrats were in attendance for the event at the Kentucky Center for the Arts, including: Kentucky Democratic Party Chair Ben Self, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, Jerry Lundergan, former Rep. Brent Yonts, former United Kingdom Ambassador Matthew Barzun, Executive Director of the Louisville Democratic Party Kyle West and David Tandy of the Louisville Metro Council.


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