Vice President Joe Biden appeared on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on Thursday night, but rather than engaging in the comedian's usual schtick of witty banter, the two men had a shockingly frank discussion about tragedy.
The tone quickly shifted from the typical talk show joviality when Colbert expressed his condolences to Biden over the loss of his son, Beau Biden, who died from brain cancer in May.
Mr. Vice President, there's another reason I think people admire you and like you, and it's that you're a man of substance. People know that you have experienced tragedies in your life and we are inspired by the way that you have responded to those.
And for myself, and I suspect for millions of people out there, I'd like to offer my condolences for the loss of your son, Beau. I know that he was a great man.
A clearly emotional Biden responded, "My son was better than me. And he was better than me in almost every way. ... I never, one single time — my word as a Biden — ever, ever heard my child complain."
Biden is no stranger to family tragedy. His wife and daughter were killed in an automobile accident in 1972. Beau Biden, then 4 years old, and his younger brother, Hunter, were severely injured in the wreck. Biden recalled to Colbert his son's fortitude.
When he was in that accident and lost his mom and his sister, he was very badly injured. Almost every bone in his body was broken. ... My other son, Hunter, his best friend a year and a day younger, was just about three and had a severe skull fracture. He'd sit in the room in the hospital and he'd say, "Hunt. Look at me. Look at me. I love you. I love you." Four years old.