tv Valerie Biden Owens Growing Up Biden - A Memoir CSPAN June 30, 2022 10:45am-11:46am EDT
and authors. funding for c-span2 come from these television companies and more including cox. >> homework can be hard but squatting and a diner for internetwork is even harder. that's why we're providing a lower income students access to affordable internet so homework can just be homework. cox connects to compete. >> cox, along with these television companies, supports c-span2 as a public service. >> good in everyone and welcome to p&p live. i am bradley graham, co-owner of politics and prose along with my wife lissa muscatine, and thank you all for shifting with us for this online format. we have been planning as you know to make this an in-person event, covid intervened and fortunately through the wonders of zoom we are still able to go forward and we are thrilled to be presenting valerie biden owens to talk about her new
book, "growing up biden." valerie of course ise joe bidens sister. she is level years younger than her brother and the two have been close sensitive and kids. she managed his campaign for the senate and the white house answered as as a key advisord trusted confidant. as she notes in the introduction of her book, various profiles over the years have described valerie as biden whisper, reflecting how in sync the are and howow intuitively they understand each other. in other roles and valerie has been an executivent of the media consulting firm and truly serves as vice chair of the biden institute, university of delaware. she sits on the advisory board of the beau biden foundation for the protection of children and served on the board's promoting women's leadership and communication skills. in her memoir, valerie leads
touchingng accounts with insider perspectives on a political work.ht while she offers insightht into her brother joe she also has an uncompelling story to tell as women breaking through gender barriers and showing that women can run major campaigns even at the presidential level. there's a review and publisher weekly said, valerie said book shines with heart and humanity. conversation this evening with valerie will be jon meacham, accomplished biographer of several american president and other prominent s individuals, d someone who joe biden has been known to read and consult with. he is also a professor at vanderbilt and a tv commentator, not to mention a former top magazine editor and senior publishing executive. we are so fortunate to havee a moderating. so valerie and john, the screen is yours. 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 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 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 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 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. 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. 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 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 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 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 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. 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 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 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
one of the most valuable things anyone can have particularly someone in public life is having people whose love and rrespect they are so confident of that they will listen to any criticism from that person. and you had a remarkable place in a political universe for 50 years. almost exactly. it's 50 years this year since you wererunning for senate for the first time . >> you could be a little bit more delicate. >> but you were a child when it started. >> i was. >> so 2 questions, really. one is that role. that sister who can let the brother have and the brother listens because he knows that
once in for you is his success. the success of the meritorious enterprise that's unfolding. that's what it looks like from the outside. >> and that's what it is from the inside. look, i had it easy in a lot of ways because i was his kid sister. he told everybody from the beginning that to resume when i spoke that he was speaking. that i represented him. other people have to be careful when their calling a job for a future or their resume depends on how they react with their boss. so sometimes it has to be a profile in courage to walkup to your boss and say i really think you screw thatup . you're a jerk or whatever . that's hard and that's like so many people that we know.
they surround themselves with sycophants. yes sir, no server. what has existed between me and joe and it goes into politics and business and family , all aspects of life is complete trust. he has said often that i can say anything to him and he asks me to say anything to him because he knows whatever fi say to him comes from a place of love and it's flipped the same way back with my other brothers. when you love somebody it doesn't mean that you rollover and praise them and put them on a pedestal. when you love somebody and you know them 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 he can be. if things ever fry or i see him being a wise guy or something that i think is appropriate, i'll tell him. and he says gee, i came off like that and i say yeah yeah joe, itreally did . nine out of 10 times, most of the time he says i didn't see that. so it's a disservice not to tell somebody just as with your kids. mwhen your children do somethingyou want them to be the best you can and we all have blind spots . i didn't know if this impacted that person like that. there's a difference between a criticism and critiquing. yes, i do critique him just as my brothers critiqued me. but it comes from love.
did i answer your question? >> you did. just to be clear you're welcome to put me on a pedestal. i know you were debating whether to do that or not. >> i think you're pretty great. >> you stepped up and used the phrase a minute ago about stepping up to the plate . you stepped up to the plate at an early point in politics becoming not simply a male domain. there was still a lot of work to do but in 1972 it was a real boys club . >> yes. >> talk about what it was like to be not just a kid sister but a woman running important campaigns. presidential campaigns. being at that level of politics, what's else you, what was being a woman that was helpful and what was,
what did you have to overcome ? >> there were no women. that's a brushstroke but not women candidates, not women journalists. certainly there were some but it was a man'sworld . and my brother pulled out the chair for me. again, i have it easier. he pulled up a chair at the table and around the table were all men and he said this is my sister what she says, assume it's me and that gave him the freedom to go out and do what he did best was to reach voters, listen to them and share his vision with their values. the part that wasn't so good is that i was viewed by not all but by some as a token. i was token relative at the table and i was the token teacher.
or the token woman. so when joe left the room, i got a seat at the table but when joe left the room i had to keep the seat . what i think that by having the father that i had and my three brothers i was very comfortable with a partnership with men. they didn't threaten me. and i think it was my sister-in-law jill teases me and she says i'm more boy and she's more girl. and in the way that we talk and the language we use. so i wasn't threatened but i had to work hard. there's a story i tell in the book about the campaign in the 90s. and i did all the media. not a word went out on radio
or tv. so this particular right up at the end of the campaign it was an ugly campaign. it turned ugly. that was the era when you have a poster of the candidate up in the wall. somebody would throw mud and mud would fly down theface . so the media, i called 11:00 in the morning and i said you have to respond to this. and they said biden word of honor, from 11 that day to 3 am the next day the next morning the consultant wouldn't do it. kept sending the same thing and i said i'm not putting that garbage up. that's not the way joe talks, that's not what joe represents and that's that will back fire. so he said to me well, you know valerie if you do not approve this ad because we had to get into drivetime.
it's 6:00 in the morning here . if you do not approve this ad you're probably going to lose the election and you will have lost it for him. i said okay then, i'm going to lose the election because i'm not putting that ad out. he said okay. allright . you've pushed me to this. i'm going to have my boss call your boss and i said you're going to tattle on me? you're going to call my daddy ? here's my daddy's number so you won't have to bother to look it up . he calls, his boss calls my brother. 3:15 in the morning. you think somebody's dead d. his kids okay, his mom okay and the boss says everything okay, the problem is your sister. what happened is now? he said she won't let us play this ad and we want to you to hear it because we think if you'll lose the election. and my brother said let me
get this straight. she said no and you're calling meme to read it so i can check on it? they said yes. don't bother. my sister said no, he's i say number now that is what i had to go to the plate on that with calling my daddy. it didn't happen too often but men who acted that way wereinsecure men . they weren't comfortable around a strong mother or a strong wife or a strong daughter or a strong sister . so i just figured that they were insecure and we can looked around them. >> so again i hate to bring this up but 50 years. it's a long political art. and yet your brother has become president at the
moment that is and you're not supposed to modify the word unique but iwill . i genuinely unique moment. the constitution is under assault. he was the president elect when there was an insurrection and an attack on the capital. a lot of us believe not believed but believe present tense that his success is very much the country's success and constitutions success. agreeor disagree about policy sdetails . joe biden believedin the rule of law . he believes in the constitution and believes in the journey towards 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 is almost a providential thing?
i remember something nancy pelosi said to your brother which is your brother mentioned any and i think he was still startled by. he said i'm glad you lost all those other times because now we actually need you . is there anything not to be going about it. he's your brother. he's your friend. but in the life of the nation we've been very lucky. at various points that the right person has been there. to help us through the storms . is there anything about that that resonates for you? >> except that providential sounds way too significant. what i do believe and know is that he's the right person at the right time for the right job i. and what we vote for i think,
i don't speak for all americans but i think the most important thing in a president is character because the issues change all the time so you think you're onone issue person or whatever e . you're going to vote for this guy or this woman all at the same view but what matters most is character and whether you like joe's policies are not, i don't think there are a whole other people that don'trecognize he's a decent and honorable man . but he has hgreat and determination and there is no daylight between the private person and the public servant . and in the book growing up biting that's not something that just happens 50 years. that to me has been his entire life. iand i do think and i'm asking
you john. i think the time makes the leader. there are times when that person steps for and this is one of the times that we needed it. i understand what nancy is saying that providential makes it seem to spiritual or something for me. i don't want to be presumptuous. but timing is everything and he was ready for this and he's been ready for it and has been preparing for it forever. >> for those of us who can't grow up biting that are growing up fill in the blank. >> they could buy growing up biting. i just got a note,say the book . the book isgrowing up biting . >> if they're here and they know at this point. give us a couple of lessons. not to be preachy or presumptuous you were raised
by, you have raised great folks. what are some life lessons from growing up biting? >> mom and dad had some good ones. mom said that greatness lives in every heart and she was sure itwould be called upon . that failure in everyone's life was inevitable but giving up is unforgivable. dad used to say it doesn't matter how many times you get knocked down ishow quickly you get back up .my mother, my brother mom was the intonation of everything blessed and sacred. they would have put on the
tombstone the most beloved beloved blessed woman in the world which she was but what we should put on her tombstone is the phrase i remember most. that's what mom said on the right and the left. beware the righteous. and always be kind. mom was tough. she was like the rosa chain. don't cross her children. but the kind. the kid, who likes you. who has a crush on you, romantic crust in seventh grade or just wants to hang around with you.
don't ever ever be that person. i mean, if we had done we would have disappointed our parents. i'm not trying to make fun but to make fun of someone about something they have no control over. if the kid is a real jerk and punching someone else you go up and say get away from here and you deal with it but you couldn't make fun of anybody and you couldn't be deliberately mean. that doesn't mean it didn't happen and sometimes we didn't meanto be mean . but that was the biggest thing in the family. there's dignity in every person. the story in the book with the non-. when i was a little girl we
moved from scranton when i was five years old. second half of first grade so i had just turned six years old but the school up the street was a seminary and that's where i started. we didn't go topre-k . we just went into first grade . and the none, i sat in the front row because it went in either ical order. way i was always in the front row. and she insisted this is brand-new. she insisted on calling me valerie a bit and like the disease. and bit because i don't know why.i went home to mom and said mom, she won't call me by my right name. she said just tell her what your name is. end up. i did the second day and i said mom, she calls me valerie because you were
named after a saint, that's why it was for larry. and the third day i came back e because we went home for lunch and i told my mom i quit. i quit school. three days in first grade i quit and my mother said no, you bet your sweet and you don't quit school and she walked up the hill and they're out of lunch and she said my daughter's name is valerie biden. if you call for malaria bitten one more time i'm going to come back and knock your butt off so do i make myself clear? so there's a time to be kind and time to take the stand. it's the difference that we e all have trouble figuring out sometimes 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 it grade but that's another story. >> that's about the stunner.
>> yes. the nuns made fun of him. who in the class can tell. biting how to pronounce that word and the word was dgentleman and joe would stutter and speak. they speak in a cadence and a rhythm joe would say sir walter raleigh was a gentle man. and he made fun of him. he got up and he walked out of school again, that's all profile encouraged to do . her mommy was in the car too. and it was a repeat performance and i think my mother may have added a few expletives i'm sorry. >> your recuperating.
brad, you there? you have questions from the group. >> we've got some questions just a head of the start of the event. so let's see. a couple of people asked valerie what are your favorite things you love about scranton and what is at least one of your favorite childhood memories. >> what i love about scranton is the memory of my uncle who i wasn't sure if i didn't pay for it would go to hell because he was a lapsed catholic and i tell that story and my grandfather, the difference with scranton.i
didn't grow up inscranton. i grew up in wilmington . joe grew up in scranton. we left scranton when i was five and we would go up home. that's what we call it. go up home at least once a month because my uncle and my mom's dad were there. and my dad was a good guy and he knew that it mattered to mom to stay with her father who was not well. so but i want the part about scranton. i love the memories and i love that it's a home and it was where the tracks of our dna ran down. no matter what home is where you start and that's where we begin. i exhibited mostly in wilmington. joe was eight. there's a big difference. i state the obvious but between the sensibilities ofa five-year-old and an eight-year-old . there's a big difference. so joe has many more specific
memories . can i tell you one story that i do remember of scranton? or should i stop? >> go ahead. >> there was a story and it's the basis of the relationship between me and joe. across the street there's a littlegirl , only girl in the e. neighborhood and her name is mary mcgee. she had a birthday party. she was turning six. i was all dressed up in my patent leather shoes and went over to the birthday party and when i went in the girls were all from the school. mary didn't go to mysame school so i was the one kid out in the neighborhood .i was the neighborhood kid and then none of the other kids talked to me which is understandable . i went to mrs. mcgee and i said i want to go home .
i don't like it there. and she said no, stay, it's okay and i said no it's not and i started to cry. i said i want my brother, and this is my mom who ran up the block to see where we all play baseball. she brought joeyback . he cleans behind his ears, put on his sport coat and cameover and rang the bell and said mrs. mcgee , i'm joey biden. she said i know who you are. he said may i come in with my sister west and mark she said yes and he stayed with me entire party. heplayed pin the tail on the donkey . he stuck by me and when it was time to go he said thank you mrs. mcgee, ihad a lovely time . iq for coming and edwrapped around my hand and i said joey, thank you. he said without, thanks for inviting me. that's a memory i remember. >> that's remarkable given how young you before then.
what childhood lessons joe biden learned are reflectedin his actions as president . >> i think that there is dignity in every man and woman and to treat people with dignity. and as evidence, another saying from my mother, valerie. oujoey, jimmy, frank, each one of us.od you're no better than anybody else and nobody else is better than you. just remember that. and that was the mantra. so when joe ran for the senate the first time it was civil rights. on this particular issue, 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 . an example of violence
against women act, voting rights act. and you saw him treating dignity people with dignity last week whenhe was in poland . he was with the mothers. and treating them with dignity. that's joe knows what it's like to have lost a child. to have lost two of them. to have lost a life, a spouse . so that has been what he's done all his life. that's the lesson he learned inchildhood . because his own universityand he's carried it through .>> president biden described you as his best friend. as his best friend what has surprised you most abouthis career ? >> he never quits. i mean, he just is an
optimist. he's not a pie-in-the-sky optimist but he is a resilient man who never quits . and has never taken his eye off the ball. and the ball had his elections are about the candidate and not the candidate, it's about the voters and it's about their values and what they want and he's such just a vehicle they can use to get to where they want tobe . and you know if you win the heart that they had will follow. so i think that what he is consistent. he's and i think i've said it before but there's no daylight between the private citizen and ublic you know, when joe promised my dad people originally thought it was goal in the
last day of bo's life and bow was asking his dad to promise and he would run for president. that wasn't it. promise me dad that you won't disengage. promise me that you'll stay in because when tragedy strikes all go, the natural inclination is to shut down. and so joe's amount of his word. irso his entire life and i'm not surprised. i'm m on by it and i'm proud of him. again a real man, not odd. he's just a good man. he will let youdown. or he'll die trying . >> the question is what surprised you most. is there something that you hadn't expected that surprised youmost about him ? >> all the things that i expect to see, it surprises me to see him in the primaries when we wererunning
. in the beginning in iowa and new hampshire. surprised me are the debates. his client, i might see it again.his quiet confidence. his demeanor, his centered. and he just goes on. and it's surprises s me because i think g's, i've had on my spikes. who needs this. but he it surprises me that he continues with this stamina and commitment to hemake things better so there's not all one big i mean, i don't know, i hope i'm answering thisquestion . . >> thank you. >> can i jump in. just something valerie said a couple of times that i think is really vital about both the president and val.
so occasionally people ask me once by then, what does he think about this or that as if iwould know . but i offered the most frustrating thing you could say and brad will appreciate this given his misspent youth as a reporter. the thing that a reporter hates to hear which is he's an upside down iceberg. most people you don't see most of them. my view is with biden you see almost all of him. and we had a conversation i guess a year or so ago and he said something. he said i'm not sure i can say this publicly and it was some fairly but our point. it was a point,it was a controversial . and i said well, i don't know how to tell you this sir but you said that oncnn the other night . literally.
he said oh. and i think there's offered to do that. and politics. most people, most politicians are enigmatic. i don't think president biden is enigmatic. and i think valerie's book sheds light on it and i think he perpetually does. >> you see what you get and by the way, for my remarks about john he said he can make a few comments and doesn't really know joe. john knows joe. knows his soul. john speaks joe's language and i hope i just haven't destroyed your credibility, john. but you know, and my brother values you a great deal. and especially values you if you really elevate and
highlight and praise me. >> it's funny, i talked to him and he didn't make that point . >> come on. he just assumed you would do it. >> exactly. >> we've got a few more questions here to go. next point is valerie you worked on global campaign for a long time starting with joe'scampaign for president . us freshman class. what got you interested in political work and that comes from maggie anderson who calls herself sister blue hand. >> for those of you it's the delaware all allotter. wherethe blue hands . i'll let that go. you asked me how did i get in politics, was not the question? joe. plain and simple. i was wherever he was going,
from the time i opened my eyes he said let's go. i think you've got places to go and people to see and i went with him. he was the one who got me involved in politics in the sense of elected offices and governance but what i say to anybody who will listen, politics is the art and science of living together peacefully and it's a society with scarce resources and we have to figure out how to allocate them . so politics is real life. so in terms of real life and in leadership and inchoices , i have been involved in politics on my own volition my entire life. but i don't think maybe perhaps i would have. i was asked to be a candidate, i never wanted to be a candidate besides one in the house is enough.
>> lthat leads to the next question. do you harbor any political ambitions at this point? >> number i mean, i harbor leadership roles. i like to be ... hopefully i'm always involved. but leaders don't always have to be out front and leaders don't always have to have a title and that's what i told the men and women i teach . sometimes the leader is the gentle push behind or the whisper in your ear. or sometimes a leader is the one who gets in view at yanks you over the finish line but you don't have to hold elected office to be involved in the politics of making a better world. >> that was very good. >> you may use it.
>> you wanted on a new pillow or a coffee mug? >> i think the needlepoint ei pillow. >> you will be in december. >> i will remember what i said but okay. >> you addressed this question but i'll ask it anyway. so what do you believe is your brother's best quality? >> i think his best quality is his empathy and i think that there's a quality that is least that he gets the least credit for his is how smart he is. and you know, it's one thing to have knowledge. but joe is has lives with that knowledge and he has a clarity and ambition and together, empathy is a fancy
word for needing to feel, not like to feel the fabric but to absorb. and i think that joe can joke absorbs what's going on around him and the emotions. we have to get back to being connected. otherwise john would this more than i. we will not exist as a free people and as a democracy. as the world's greatest democracy so we can disagree. for sure. but we've got to stop this demagogue because you disagree with me your no good and your mother wears combat boots, we've got to stop that stuff . >> empathy is why i think biden is 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 the covenant. and it's not all about loving your neighbor. everybody loved their neighbor jesus would that to command them to do it. it's a rule that is far more often. >> we catholics know that. >> that's the new testament so will discusswhat your biblical knowledge later . but i think without the ability and capacity to say i'm going to help you in the morning on the expectation that if i need help in the afternoonyou're more likely to give it . that's the way democracies run and if you do it for the right reasons that you're a moral person that's great. i don't know many of those. i know some. there's kind of pragmatic covenant and i think biden gets that intuitively. >> i think so too.
>> we've got a couple of questions remaining. what did president biden and your family think of the book ? >> they loved it. they were very proud of me especially my children. way to go, mommy. they didn't see it until it was finished. my children did i. they helped me. mom, that's great. but i gave it to my brothers after i wrote it. that wasn't for any particular reason because normally i don't do anything that significant without my brother . and without checking with joe and getting his opinion. but i thought you know, this is a man who is dealing with the world's problems. with putin, with inflation,
with jobs with the pandemic, with infrastructure and i want to call him and say you remember that time, how old were we? so this is not i was secure enough to do it because this is not a policy book. it's about people who happen to then be in political life but it's not apolicy book . that john has to come up with this. >> 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 see something of themselves in the book. i said look at it and say oh my god.that's me, she gets me. but the biggest thing is for me personally nai hope they can
see and know how i love growing up biden and that's to me part of it. i loved it. i wasfortunate . my parents told us that we were a gift to one another and we believed it. i have three brothers. who were given to me. and i have one husband who i heard. >> we should all be so lucky. john, did you want to say anything in closing ? >> i think the country is fortunate that joe biden is president i say that not as a partisan point. i had actually voted for more republicans for president than democrat although that gap is narrowing fairly rapidly. i think that is fortuitous and i'd argue is providential . valerie doesn't have to this particular man is where he is this particular moment.
it's 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 about him to know how important valerie is to him and therefore how important valerie is to the country to all of us . and if we could only a serious thing i say, but she renders an extra great service to the nation orby 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 comfortablethere . as a very repressed wasp. but i needed. it's an important book and a great book and go to politics and prose.>> you will you
call joe and tell him what you just said >> i will not. in fact i'lldeny it. i don't know what you're talking about . >> you can send him a link . >> thank you bradley. thank you john. >> kubo. feel better. >> i will. i'm drinking my water, plenty ofwater . thank you guys. >> great moderating john and valerie. as john said you got another great service with this book. it's very illuminating and very engaging and if nothing else is not that hard to write a book. so to everyone watching thanks for tuning in. you can find a link for purchasing additional copies of growing up biden from all of us here stay well. and well read. >> sign up for our newsletter
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