Former vice president Joseph R. Biden Jr. has been called both the luckiest man and the unluckiest—fortunate to have sustained a fifty-year political career that reached the White House, but also marked by deep personal losses and disappointments that he has suffered.
Yet even as Biden’s life has been shaped by drama, it has also been powered by a willingness, rare at the top ranks of politics, to confront his shortcomings and reversals of fortune. As he says, “Failure at some point in your life is inevitable, but giving up is unforgivable.” His trials have forged in him a deep empathy for others in hardship—an essential quality as he addresses Americans in the nation’s most dire hour in decades.
In Joe Biden, Osnos ponders the difficulties Biden will face if elected and weighs how political circumstances, and changes in the candidate’s thinking, have altered his positions. In this nuanced portrait, Biden emerges as a fully-rounded figure, tempered by the flame of tragedy—a man who just may be uncannily suited for his moment in history.
Osnos will be in conversation with Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate who recently published the book, Trust: America’s Best Chance about the monumental challenges posed by our present moment. They will discuss the 2020 campaign, the candidacy of Joe Biden, and the future of American politics.
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