Joe Biden was first elected to the Senate when I was two years old, and he was never known as a stirring speaker. He still plods through some of this October 27 speech, but it’s the best I’ve seen him.
Given at Warm Springs, Georgia, where FDR died, it’s got much of his usual stump speech in it, but with some reflections—about unity, the reason why people pursue public life, and “who we want to be as a nation”—that are important to hear today.
A week before Election Day, only a candidate with a comfortable lead makes a final sales pitch like this. There are a few passages where he bothers to mention and attack Donald Trump. But much of it is reflective and talking about bigger questions, and those parts are quite strong.
I wouldn’t have even known about this speech had the Trump campaign not put out an excerpt of a few seconds of Biden saying “Why am I doing this? Why? What is my real aim?” He was actually quoting Pope Francis, in one of the strongest parts of his remarks.
He says for those who seek to lead, we would do well to ask ourselves, why am I doing this? Why? What is my real aim? Pope Francis asked the question that anyone who seeks to lead this nation should be able to answer. My answer is this. I run to unite this nation and to heal this nation. I have said that from the beginning as badly necessary. The Bible tells us there is a time to break down and a time to build up. A time to heal. This is that time.
Not as entertaining, perhaps, as the unmasked 100-car pileup that is every Trump rally. But what a contrast.