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tv   Valerie Biden Owens Growing Up Biden - A Memoir  CSPAN  June 1, 2022 2:55am-3:55am EDT

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good evening, everyone and
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welcome to pnp live. i'm brad graham the co-owner of politics and pros along with my wife. listen muscatine, and thank you all for shifting with us to this online format. we've been planning as you know to make this an in-person event. covid intervened and fortunately through the wonders of zoom. we're still able to go forward and and we're thrilled to be presenting valerie by nolens to talk about her new book growing up by salary, of course is joe biden's sister. she's several years younger and her brother and the two have been very close since they were kids. she's managed his campaigns for the senate and the white house and served as a key advisor and trusted confidant. as she notes in the introduction of her book various profiles
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over the years have described valerie as the biden whisperer reflecting how in sync they are and how intuitively they understand each other. in other roles valerie has been an executive with a media consulting firm and currently serves as vice chair of the biden institute university of delaware as a partner at owens patrick leadership seminars. he sits on the advisory board of the beau biden foundation for the protection of children, they're served on other boards promoting women's leadership and communication skills. and her memoir mallory weaves touching accounts of her family life with insider perspectives on her political work. and while she offers insight into her brother joe, she also has her own compelling story to tell as a woman breaking through gender barriers and showing that women can run major campaigns even at the presidential level. as a review and publishers weekly said valerie's book well
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shines with heart and humanity. conversation this evening with valerie will be john meacham. accomplished biographer of several american presidents and other prominent individuals and and someone who joe biden has been known to read and consult with and also as a professor at vanderbilt and a tv commentator not to mention a former top magazine editor and senior publishing executive. we're so fortunate to have him moderating. so valerie and john? screen is yours. how about it? hello. thank you, brad. thank you. first we have to say get well soon to valerie. we're supposed to as brad said we're supposed to be together. valerie was looking forward to being a real author at politics and pros, but i would argue you're a real author here. so it's all i hope so it's all gonna be fine. i was looking for the i mean politics and pros. i mean there's there's nothing
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like it. so the weight might turn covid. i mean, what would have thought it who would have thought well we're in good shape delighted to be here. what um, what did you learn doing this uh when you're in politics often you are moving from crisis to crisis moment to moment. you're problems. you're making a concessions your in a kind of males from of the present a book forces you doesn't it to really take stock in a way that the day-to-day doesn't allow you to do. so, what did you learn as you as you put the book together? well, first of all, i when i when i began to write the book i thought about writing the book. i was pretty naive. i did, you know, i thought it would be no big deal and then i thought when the next beat well john you can write books. so sure how i can write him, you know, so i thought that would be
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okay. right and what? my my biggest difficulty was in choosing what i would include in the book i have been. you guys there? well, we're here. i think we may have lost valley. you know, she said it was a it was stormy morning there. let me say something brad something remarkable just happened. no one has ever been able to silence valerie. until this moment and right now or several biden brothers including someone with the nuclear codes who wants to know what your trick is. so this is this is a formidable achievement, which is he get them on zoom and then you have an electrical storm in the area. that's yeah. we're working on we're let me talk about the bides for a minute while we wait. um you we're looking at a
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remarkable american family. that has in many ways their lives have come to intersect with the life of the nation. it's given to very few families. the bushes the kennedys the roosevelts. where it's clear that the people not simply on the ballot, but those who shape their ambient life matters it matter enormously and i think the president's been incredibly fortunate all these years to have val as the i would call her almost the gravitational force. she's very good at saying i don't know what you mean by that you need to be clearer. what are you really talking about? and we saw that with not to make the comparison to precise, but you know rfk could do that with
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jfk. you need someone as you know when you're in the arena who will be honest with you and not fear that your access gets cut off. remember george w bush used to tell a great story is the point you would make is, you know, people would always be standing out in the lobby the oval office and they'd say i'm gonna come in there and tell him what's what and you get in there and he'd say that's a nice time mr. president. you need somebody who's not going to say that's a nice time mr. president and i think i think valerie has done that for years and i i suspect continues to how well do you know her? a known her for the last couple of years really the beginning of this last campaign. i was honored forgive the solipsism of this but we're vamping. i'd wrote a book about there. she is. she back.
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yeah, almost fine. you missed the best line i've ever had. so what god got me with covid now, it gets me with the thunderstorms. so let me tell you i pointed out that something had just happened that there are several men with the last name of biden and one with owens who has never been able to do it something which is to silence you. oh, but you were you were able to you bet in mind keep that i pick up and you keep in mind. that paybacks are hell. i don't believe me. i i okay. i've read my dante. oh, i'm so sorry and you know part of the problem with with biden land and we'll talk about is this catholicism thing but you know, you can just come over and be one of us being episcopy and the doors open. they're only six of us. we have plenty of room. so yeah, we can make you were telling me how easy it was to write a book.
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so pick up there. okay, so i you know, i thought it was no big deal, but i have literally abiding word. i have hundreds of vignettes and show and short stories and i've been writing for years. so the hard part was to to figure out what i wanted to say and where i wanted to put it in the book and who heard anyway, if i put it in the book what difference does it make? and it was like choosing among my children. who was my favorite. so the most of the writing of my book i had already done, but i i was urged to put it together into a book. so i just wrote for my own pleasure and the reason i put it into a book. was because i think that our our family is was a lot like many middle class american families who grew up in the mid 19th century. i mean, we were three brothers and me irish catholic home and
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although we had we had different we all have different stories the threat of what put the fabric of family together was commitment and loyalty and love and then heartbreak and disappointment and loss and i thought you know, we have a lot more in common than then we don't so i when i assembled it all together my wish was that i hope that some buddy picks up the book when this woman picks up the book and reads it and she can say oh my god, that's me in that book or that's my uncle and also will understand how much i really and truly enjoy and loved growing up biden. so the forward of experiences all all of us are obviously the sum of of our experiences. president biden has really made
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his biography one of the essential. arguments for his political identity as you just said he gets it. he understands when people are hurting he understands when people are worried about not making ends meet. he understands what it's like, you know when dad loses a job and then the remarkable tragic toll of of his young and middle years. what in y'all's childhood? gave do you think gave him and you your brothers the capacity to endure? well, i think that. as much as we don't like it that adversity builds character. and when one thing that i talk about in the book that that's
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jumped immediately to mind john is when joe was a little boy. he couldn't string more than three words together. he was a terrible stutterer. and our mom told him that he stuttered because he was so smart. he couldn't get the words out fast enough. the adults around him not all of them some adults, but the kids you know made from stutters are stupid. they can't they they can't talk. and i watched when i was little i didn't mean i use my big brother, so i didn't even notice that he stuttered or didn't stutter. but as i got older i watched this young man, you know layer by thin layer build a backbone of steel. and my brother knows what it feels like to be bullied. and to be shunned and to be stuck in a corner you cannot you know that file a lasting your throat a long time, you know, you can almost taste it and joe
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at a young age made a choice that he was either going to be defined by a bully. or he was going to embrace what you referred would you reference is as rare commodity in? many people's lives today and that's empathy and understanding that. we're all in this together and joe chose empathy, you know when you're you know when you're a bully you grow up you either, you know, you become a bully yourself where you go the opposite way and joe went the opposite way and he taught my parents taught us all the basic values, but i was joe psychic i went with them every place since i was you know, a little girl and i watched him in action and his the way that he handled things rubbed off on me rubbed off on him a lot better than they did on me. i'm a little bit more a survey than he is, but i tried agent.
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well, we're you're working progress. so we're still we're still years ago. talk about your faith talk about the role of catholicism in your childhood and growing up. okay, we were and irish catholic middle class family. my brothers and i went to catholic school. we went to mass every sunday. we didn't eat meat on friday, but we weren't pious, you know, we didn't we didn't say the rosary every night and you know, we were just a solid catholic family. our parents taught what what made it all work? is that mom and dad's values which they tried to instill in us? meshed very seamlessly with the catholic social doctor that we learned in school from the nuns. and that is that there's you
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know there but for the grace of god go i you are your brother's keeper. and we were expected to not just say those lines quote those lines in the bible. we were expected. to live it and again not nothing, you know grand. with you know a pious, you know walking down the aisle. we were just expected to be good kids. my father said the worst sin in the world was the abusive power and so if you saw in our at that time in our life, and we saw one kid being bullied or being made fun of we were supposed to step up to the plate. we were supposed to jump in and and try and make things better and that's what joe then carried on. for his entire life. that's what that's the reason. he entered politics because he wanted to be a change agent. he wanted to make things better and john. i mean i know you know this but for the viewers, i don't try to
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make joe anything other than he is. i don't have to make them bigger than life. you know when i talk about my brother. he's a real live human being is a real. good guy, and i don't have to ingrandize him in the book. i tell stories about him and my brother jimmy and frankie, but he's he's just he's first and foremost a good brother. that's what the that's the in the book. talk a little bit if you would when brad and i were talking, you know, i think one of the most valuable things anyone can have but particularly someone in public life is having people whose love and respect they are so confident enough that they will listen to any criticism from that person. and you've had a remarkable
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place in a political universe for 50 years almost exactly right? it's been 50 years this year since you all were running for the senate the first time. so i have century. oh geez. oh, that's good job. right so two questions really one is the that role right the sister who can just let the brother have it. and the brother listens because he knows. that what's in it for you is his success the success of the meritorious enterprise that that's unfolding. that's what it looks like from the outside and that's what it is from the inside, you know, one of the look, i i had it. i had it easy in and a lot of
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ways because i was his kid sister he told everybody from the beginning that to assume that one i spoke he was speaking that i represented him. other people have to be careful when they're building a job or their future or their resume depends upon how they react with their boss. so sometimes you have to be a profiling courage to walk up to your boss and say, you know, i think he's you really screwed that up. you should do such insector. you're a jerk or whatever that's hard. and that's why so many people that we know john and i'm sure in the audience know that they surround themselves with sycophants yes or no, sir. what has existed between me and joe and it goes into politics and business and family? all aspects of life is complete trust. and he has said often that i can
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say anything to him and he asked me to say anything to him because he knows whatever i say to him comes from a place of love and it's flipped the same way the same way it, you know back with other brothers. here's the thing. when you love somebody, it doesn't mean that you roll over and you praise them and you know, put them on a pedestal. when you love somebody and you know, they're good. then you expect them to be the best that they can be and i've always expected joe biden to be the best joe biden that he could be. so if things ever slide or i see him maybe being a wise guy or something that i that i think is inappropriate and i will tell them. and he says, oh jeez. it came off like that. i said, yeah joe it really did. he said and nine out of 10 times.
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you know he most of the time he said, oh, i i didn't i didn't figure that. so it's a disservice not to tell me to tell somebody that you look just with your kids when you're your children do something you want them to be the best they can and sometimes you know, we all blind spots. i mean like i didn't god i didn't know it impacted that person like that and so that's what that we it is a difference between a criticism and critiquing. so i i yes, i do critique him just as my brother's critique me. but it comes from love just answer your question. you did just to be clear. you're welcome to put me on a pedestal and that's fine because i know that you were debating whether to do that or not. well, you know, i think you're pretty great. yeah. yes as a you stepped up used a phrase a minute ago by stepping up to the plate. you stepped up to the plate at an early point in.
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politics becoming not simply a male domain uh, it's was still a lot of work to do but in 1972, it was a real boys club. yeah talk about what it was like to be. not just the kid sister but a woman running important senate campaigns presidential campaigns being at that level of politics. what was what helped you what was being a woman that was helpful, and and what was what did you have to overcome? well, there were no women. i mean again, that's a brush stroke, but they're not women candidates not women campaign managers not women pundits not women journalists again that certainly the were some but it was a man's world. and my brother pulled up a chair for me again.
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i had it i had it easier in because he pulled up a chair at the table and around the table were all men. and he said this is my sister which she says assume, it's me and that gave him the freedom to go out and to do what he did best, which was to reach voters listen to them and you know share his vision with their values. this part that wasn't so good is that i was viewed by not all but by some as a token. i was the token relative at the table and i was the token sister. so are the token woman so when joe left the room, you know, i had to and i got to see that the table, but when joe left the room i had to the seat and what i've i think that my having my the father that i had and my three brothers. i was very comfortable with with the partnership with men.
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i mean i didn't they didn't threaten me and i think it was my sister-in-law guilt teases me and she said, you know, you're she i'm more boy and she's more girl and in in the way that we talk in the direct like the language we use so i wasn't i wasn't threatened but i had a i had a work hard and there's a story i tell in the book. about and campaign in the 90s. and i did all the media for nothing not a word went out on radio or tv. so this particular right at the very end of the campaign and it was an ugly campaign. it turned ugly a very negative against us. that was the arrow, you know when you'd have a poster of the candidate up in the wall. somebody would throw mud and the mud would slide down the face. well, that was one of the times so the media consultant i called 11 o'clock in the morning, and i said we got it we have to
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respond to this and it's biden word of honor from 11am that day to three am the next day the next morning. the consultant wouldn't do it the way kept sending me the same thing and i said, i'm not putting that garbage on that's not the way joe talks. that's not what joe represents and that's not how delawareans are gonna that that will backfire. so he said to me it's true. well, you know valerie if you do not approve this app because we had to get it into drive time. it's because six o'clock in the morning here. been in how to prove this ad your brother will lose the election and you will have lost it for him. i said well, okay, then i'm gonna lose the election because i'm not putting that out. he said, okay. well, all right, they pushed me to this. i'm gonna have my boss called your boss. and i said, oh you're gonna cattle on me. you're gonna you're gonna call
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my daddy. so here's here's my daddy's number so you won't have to bother to look it up. because his boss calls my brother 315 in the morning. oh joe, you know you think somebody's dead, you know when your kids okay his mom. okay, and the boss said everything's okay. the problem is your sister and joseph what happened to that? he said well, she she won't let us. play this ad and we wanted you to hear it because we think if you don't you'll lose the election. and my brother said wait a minute. let me get this straight. she said no and you're calling me to read it to me so i can check on it and they said yeah, he said don't bother my sister said no, i say no and he hung up on him now that that's what i had to be of being. i mean i had to go to the plate on that with, you know calling my daddy didn't happen too often, but even up to you know
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running for the president. they're the men who acted that way were insecure men they weren't or what they weren't comfortable around a strong mother or a strong wife or a strong daughter or a strong sister. so i i just figured that they were insecure and we worked around. right do you think that? so again, i hate to bring this up at 50 years. it's a long political arc and yet your brother has become president at a moment that is and you're not supposed to modify the word unique, but i will a genuinely unique moment. the constitution is under assault. he was the president-elect when there was an insurrection an attack on the capital. a lot of us believe not believed
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but believe present tense that his success is very much the country's success and the constitution that's agree or disagree about policy details. joe biden believes in the rule of law. he believes in the constitution. he believes in the journey toward a more perfect union and he was running against somebody who didn't is there anything in your? childhood youth that makes you feel this was almost a providential thing that i remember something nancy pelosi said to your brother which is which your brother mentioned to me, and i think he was still kind of startled by it. she said i'm so glad you lost all those other times because now we actually need you. um, is there anything not to be gooey about it? he's your brother. he's your friend. but in the life of the nation,
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we've been very lucky at various points that the right person has been there you help us through the storms. is there anything that about that that resonates for you? well, yeah, except that, you know providential sounds way, too. significant what i what i do believe and know is that he is the right person at the right time for the right job. and what we vote for i i think i don't speak for all americans, but i think what the most important. the most important thing in our leader in our president is character because the issues change all the time. so you think you're you know, you're one issue person or whatever you're going to vote because this guy or this woman holds your holds the same view. but what matters most is character and whether you like
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joe's policies or not. i don't think they're a whole lot of people who don't recognize that. he's a decent and honorable man. that he has grit and resilience and determination and there is no daylight between the private person and the public servant and you know in the book growing up biden. that's not something that just happened. 50 years and this 50th year. that's who he's been his entire life. he's and i and i do think and i remember asking you john. i think the times make the leader also. i mean there are times when the when that person. steps forth and this is one of the times that we that we needed it. so i understand what nancy's saying but providential makes it seem to spiritual or something for me. i don't want to be presumptuous but it was timing is everything
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and he was ready for this and he's been ready for it. and with men preparing for it forever his character his mentor preparing for. yeah, so for those of us who can't grow up biden are growing up. fill in the blank i could buy growing up financially plug with it as i just got a note say the book the book is going up by you. well, there's beans if they're here dear that they know what the book so we're gonna take there. um what give us a couple of lessons not to be preachy or presumptuous, but you were raised by you have raised great folks. what are some life lessons from growing up biden that well mom and dad had some good ones. mom said that bravia lives in every heart and that she was sure it would be called upon.
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that failure and everyone's life was inevitable, but giving up was unforgivable. dad used to say it doesn't matter how many times you get knocked down. it's how quickly you get back up. my mother had my brothers, you know, mom was the incarnation of everything blessed and sacred. i'm the daughter i said mom was mom for god's, you know, come on so they would have they would have put on her tombstone when god rest your soul either the most beloved blessed woman in the world. well she was but i said, well not we should put on her tombs. it was this phrase that i remember most of a lot. is that being where the righteous? and that's what mom always said be on right and on the right and the left, you know beware the righteous and always always be
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kind look. mom. mom was tough. she was like the what i referenced her. she's was like the rose of shannon, you know, she was beautiful, but she had thorns don't cross her or don't cross her children, you know, we all have to have a backbone but be kind. the kid the the incident of you know, the schoolyard the kid who's not the cool kid. and but who likes you who has crush on you or like a romantic crush in seventh grade or just wants to hang around with you don't ever ever ever that person say oh go. yeah go. i mean if we had done that. we would have disappointed our parents. again, we weren't perfect kids, so i'm not trying to make it holier than now but to make fun of someone about something that they have no control over. now it's a kid is a real jerk and his punching somebody else. she'd go up and you say get away from here and you know you deal
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with it. but you couldn't you you couldn't make fun of anybody and you couldn't be deliberately mean that doesn't mean that it didn't happen and sometimes we didn't mean to be mean or or we work as i meant to be mean, but it it was that was that was the biggest thing in the family that there's dignity in every person like in the story in the book, but the nun. i was in when i was a little girl we lived we moved from scranton when i was five years old first second half of first grade, so i just turned six years old. but the school up the street was mary with seminary and that's where i started first grade. we didn't go to pre pre-k pre first first. we just went in the first grade. and the non who had first grade class. i sat in the front row because there were when alphabetical
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order or by size. either way. i was always in the front row and she insisted this is brand new. she's insisted in calling me valeria bidden. valyria like the disease and didn't rita. i don't know why. so i went home to mom and i said mom, she won't sister won't call me by my name. and she said just tell her what your name is, you know? okay stand up to a nun. i did the second day and i said mom. she she will she calls me valeria biden because there was no saint valerie. so you named after a saint. that was why the valeria? and the third day i came back because we went for a lot. we went home for lunch and the i told mom i quit i quit school three days in the first grade. i quit and my mother said, oh, no, you bet your sweet fanny you don't quit school and she walked up the hill to where the nun was in there having lunch and she
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said sister. my daughter's name is valerie biden if you call her valerie, you've been one more time. i want to come back and knock you on at all. do i make myself clear? so there's a time to be kind and there's a time to take a stand. ground, it's the difference that we all have trouble figuring out sometimes which is which and they're in history is made in that decision. she had a similar incident with joe when he was in seventh or 8th grade, but that's another story. that's about the stutter, right? yeah, yeah. do you want i mean, yes the nun made fun of them mr. biden. how in the class can tell? fighting how to pronounce that word and the word was gentleman and joe would stutterers speak they speak in a cadence in a rhythm and joe said sir walter
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raleigh was a gentleman. and he she made fun of him. he got up and he left he walked out of school. again. that's a profile of courage to do. we're not any walk to three or four miles home. don't mommy wasn't going back and she threw him in the car too. went back to the nun. and was a repeat performance and i think my mother may have added a few expletives in on this one. i hope so excuse man. sorry mike you you you're recuperating brad you're there. you have questions from the the group yeah, we've got some questions that were sent in just ahead of the the start of the event so, let's see. a couple of people asked
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valerie. what what are your favorite? what are the favorite things you love about scranton and what? what's one at least one of your favorite childhood memories? well what i love about scranton is the memory of my uncle bubu who i was sure if i didn't pray for would go to hell because he was elapsed catholic and and i tell that story. and my and my grandfather pop finnegan, they're both deceased the the difference with scranton. i didn't grow up in scranton. i grew up in wilmington. joe grew up in scranton. we left scranton when i was five. and the and we will go up home. well, that's what we called go up home. at least once so once a month because my my uncle and my mom's dad were there and my dad was a good guy. he knew that it mattered to mom too. stay with her father who was not well.
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so but so i love the script the part about scranton is i love the memories and i love that. it's up home and it was where the tracks of our dna were laid down no matter what home is where you start and that's where that's where dna was like that. i i exhibited mostly in wilmington. joe was eight. there's a big difference between i mean i save the obvious but between the sensibilities of a five year old and an eight year old that there's a big difference. so joe has many more specific memories. but i love oak and i tell you one story when i do remember most about scranton is or should i stop no, go ahead. there was a story that i tell us about and it's the basis of the relationship with me and joe across the street. there's my a little girl the only girl in the neighbor. her name was mary mcgee. and she had a birthday party.
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she was turning six. so i got all dressed up in my patent leather shoes and there's some you know went over to the birthday party when i went in. all the girls were there were all from a different school. mary didn't go to my same school. so i was the one kid out who lived in the neighborhood. i was the neighborhood kid who came and none of kids talked to me. which is understandable and i went to mrs. mcgee and i said i want to go home because i wasn't there wasn't having i didn't like it there and she said oh no, no stay. it's okay, and i said, no, it's not and i started to cry and i said i want my brother. i want joey. so mrs. mcgee called my mom who ran up the block to maloney field where we all played baseball. she got brought joey back. he cleaned behind his ears put on his little sport coat and he came over and rang the bell and he sent mrs. mickey and joey biden. she said i know who you are.
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she's in may i come in? with my sister and she said yes, and he stayed with me that entire party. he played pin the tail the donkey he played musical chairs. he stuck by me. and when it was time to go we said thanks mrs. mcgee had a lovely time and she saw thank you for coming and we walked out and grabbed my hand and i said, oh joy. thank you. he said it's out. thanks for inviting me that the childhood memories that i remember of scranton. yeah, remarkable given especially good how young you both were that? another person asks what childhood lessons that joe biden learned are reflected in his actions as president. well, i think that there's a that there's dignity in every man and woman and to treat people with dignity and his and as evidence. i mean the another saying for my
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parents my mother particularly. valerie joey jimmy frank each one of us you're no better than anybody else. and nobody else is better than you. she's just remember that. and that was a mantra. so when joe we ran for the senate the first time it was civil rights was particular issue a civil rights vietnam and the environment but social justice has always been a part of who joe is he continued that when he was in the senate examples violence against women act housing act or bony writes that and you saw it treating people with dignity just last week when he was in poland you saw him holding those. children and the mothers and treating them with dignity. i mean that joe knows what it's like to have lost a child to have lost two of them.
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and i've lost a white a spouse. so that's been what he's done all his life. that's the lesson. he learned in childhood to treat everyone with dignity because own adversity and he's carried it through the president biden describes you as his best friend as his best friend what has surprised you most about his career. well he never he never quits. i mean he just is he's an optimist. he's not a pie in the sky optimist, but he is a resilient man who never quits who and who's never taken his eye off the ball. and the the ball is that elections are about the candidate and not the candidate is about the voters and it's about their values in what they want and and he's just a vehicle
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that they can use to get to do to where they want to be. and he knows that if you win the heart. that the head will follow so i think that what he is. he's consistent. he he as i said, i think i've said it before that. there's no daylight between the private man and the public such as and you know, when? joe wrote the book promise me dad. people originally thought that it was bold. it was about bo in the last year both like and that beau was asking his dad to promise him that he would run for president that wasn't it. it was promised me dad that you won't disengage promise me. dad. you'll stay in because when tragedy strikes we all go i mean the natural and collation is to shut down. and so joe's amount of his work through his entire life and i'm not surprised. i'm on.
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buy it, and i'm i'm proud of them again real man, not odd not writing not a carpet. that he's he's just a he's a good man. he won't let you or he'll die trying. the question was what surprised you most. is there something that's you hadn't expected. surprised you most about it. just all the things that i expect him that to see him. actually it's still surprises me. to see him, for example, we're in the primaries when we were running. you know the first begin the beginning in iowa and new hampshire and surprised me or the debates. quite if i see it again and again his quiet confidence his demeanor his centered and he just goes on and it's surprises me.
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because i think geez i you know, i'd hang up my spikes. i mean what the hell? i mean who needs this? but it's surprises me that he continues with this stamina and the commitment to make things better. so there's no one. big i mean and i don't know if i'm hope i'm answering your question. yeah. no, thank you. can i drop in just valerie said a couple of times that i think is really vital about. both the president and and val so occasionally people ask me about what you know, what's biden. what does he think about this or that as if i would know? but i offer the most frustrating thing you can say and brad will appreciate this given his spent youth as a reporter the thing that a reporter hates to hear which is he's an upside down iceberg.
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most people you don't see most of them. my view is like with biden. you see almost all yeah. and we had a conversation i guess a year or so ago, and he said something he said we know i really i'm not sure i can say this publicly and it was some fairly but now point it was, you know, it was a point it wasn't controversial. and i said well i i don't know how to tell you this sir, but you said that on cnn the other night, you know, that's what you know, literally, you know, it was it what advertising you know, yeah, he said oh and i think there's there's a virtue to that in in politics. most people most politicians are enigmatic. i don't think president biden is enigmatic. and valerie's booksheds light on him and i i think that he
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perpetually does. he you see what you get and and by the way for the for my remarks about john. he said he he can you know, make a few comments doesn't really know joe. john knows joe knows his soul john speaks joe's language now. i hope i just haven't destroyed your credibility john but but you you know and my brother values you a great deal and who specially value you if you really elevate and highlight and praise me. we was funny. i just talked to him. he didn't make he didn't make that point. oh, come on. he just assumed you would do it. actually exactly yeah. okay. we got a few more questions here to go. next one is a valerie. you've worked on local campaigns for a long time starting with
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joe's campaign for president us freshman class. what got you interested in political work and that comes from maggie anderson who calls herself a sister blue, hen. okay, go ahead is our for those of you. it's a delaware alma mater where the blue hands i would think we should well anyway up. i'll let that go what you asked me. how do i get in politics? was that the question? yeah. yeah. what got you into local work? yeah. plain and simple i was wherever he was gone. look when the time i opened my eyes he put his hand out and he said come on bow. let's go we got things to do places to go and people to see and i went with him now. so he was the one who got me involved in all and politics in in the sense elective offices and governance. but what i say to it anybody who will listen to me politics is the art and science of living
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together peacefully in a is a society with scarce resources, and i have to figure out how that allocate them. so politics is real life. and so in terms of real life and in leadership and in choices i have been involved in politics. on my own from my own volition my entire life, but i i don't think i ever made perhaps i would have i was never i was asked to be a candidate and i never wanted to be a candidate and besides you know, one in the house is enough. well that leads to the next question. i mean, do you harbor any political ambitions at this point no, i mean in differently that when i was i i harbor. leadership roles. i mean i like to be in i mean i always hopefully always involved but you know. leaders don't always have to be
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out front and leaders don't always have to have a title and that's what i tell that classes with the young men and women that i teach, you know, sometimes the leaders the one is you know, the general push behind are the one who the whisper in your ear or sometimes a leaders the one who gets in front of you and you yank you over that finish line, but they're you don't have to hold elective office to be involved in the politics of making this a better world. hey that sounded profound. that was very good. oh, yeah, i'm already down. okay, you may use it and you don't have to it was my baby here on a needlepoint pillow or do you want it for a coffee mug she want i think needlepoint pillow. either way, we'll sell it it okay. so we've just remembered what i said, but okay you've already sort of address this next question about what i'll ask it anyway, so what do you believe
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is your brothers best quality? i think his best quality is his empathy and i think that the quality that is least that he gets the lease credit for is his how whip smart he is. and you know, it's one thing to have. knowledge but joe is has his wise with that knowledge. and he has a clarity of vision. and and together you know and empathy matt empathy is a fancy word. for meaning to feel not like to feel the fabric but to absorb and i think that joe can joe absorbs what's going on around in the emotions and that's what we have to we have to get back at to being connected. you know, otherwise john would speak this more than i we, you
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know, we will not exist as a free people and as a democracy is the world's greatest democracy. so we you know, we can disagree for sure. but but we got to stop this demagogue because you disagree with me. you're no good sob and your mother wears combat boots. we had to stop that stuff. yeah, empathy is is why i've been biden's right for this moment. empathy is the oxygen of democracy. because without the capacity to put yourself in someone else's shoes. there's no reason to concede anything. there's no reason to be part of a covenant. i hope it's not all about, you know, loving your neighbor marvel and if everybody loved their neighbor, jesus wouldn't have had to have commanded them to do it, right it is it's a rule. that is far more often. we catholics know that yeah. well, that's a new testament.
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so we'll discuss whether you're biblical knowledge later, but i think the without the ability in capacity to say i'm gonna help you in the morning. on the expectation that if i need help in the afternoon, you're more likely to give it. that's that's the way democracies run and if you do it for the right reasons and your moral person, that's great. i don't know many of those. i know some. there's a kind of pragmatic covenant of the and i think bidening gets that intuitively. i think so, too. okay, we got a couple of couple questions remaining what? what what did president biden and your think of the book? they they loved it and they were very proud of me. especially my children. they you know way to go mommy nothing. they didn't see it. so it was finished my children
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did as i was going along they they helped me all like mom you really think mom. that's great, but i i it to my brother's after i wrote it and that and that wasn't for any particular reason because normally i don't do anything that significant without my brothers and without checking with joe and getting his opinion. but i thought you know, this is the man who's dealing with. the world's problems with putin with inflation with jobs with covid with the pandemic with infrastructure, and i want to call him and say joe you remember that time that incident and you know, how old were real, you know, this is not a i was secure enough to do it because this is not a policy book. it's but it's a book about people who happen to then be in political life, but it's not a policy one book. that john has to come up with
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those. every now and then okay last question. so, what do you hope readers take away from your book? i hope that they will it will be nice if they if they see that something of themselves in the book i said, you know because they look at it and say oh my god, that's me this. she gets me. but the the biggest thing is for for me personally, i mean, i hope they i hope they can see and know how i loved growing up biden and it's that's the me part of it. i i loved it. i was fortunate and my parents told us that we were a gift to one another and we believed it. and i'm i got i have three brothers who were given to me
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and i have one husband who i earned. it should all be so lucky john. did you want to say anything in closing? i think that the country is fortunate that joe biden is president. i say that not as a partisan point i have actually voted for more republicans for president the democrat, although that that gap is narrowing fairly rapidly. think that it is fortuitous and i'd argue. it's providential. valerie doesn't have to that this particular man is where he is at this particular moment. this is the most significant constitutional crisis since the civil war it is i say that without fear of losing an argument about the nature of that challenge. and i know enough about the president i'm lucky enough to know enough about him to know how important valerie is to him and therefore how important valerie is to the country and to
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all of us and this will be the only serious thing i say. she renders an extraordinary service to the nation by rendering service to her family. and i love her and thank her for that. i'm not going to go back to irony because i'm more comfortable there as a as a very repressed wasp, but i i mean it i mean this great compliment important and this is an important book and a great book and go to politics and pros tonight. will you call joe and tell them what you just said? i will not i will not but in fact, i'll deny it. i don't know what you're talking about. we can send them a link for this i think was fake news. thank you bradley. thank you john. yeah. well, thank you both great moderating the audience who stayed if you say feel better. i i will i'm drinking my water plenty of water.
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goodbye. thank you guys. yeah, great moderating john and valerie. i it's john said you've done another great service with this book. it's very illuminating very engaging and if nothing else you've shown meacham that it's not that hard to write a book, you know, so right everyone watching. thanks for tuning in. thank god column. you can find a link for purchasing additional copies of growing up biden. from all of us here at politics and pros stay well.
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