“He Won’t Get Played:” Biden’s Biographer on Lessons from the Obama White House

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Joe Biden’s biographer joins the Mother Jones Podcast to tell us about the man behind the public figure. Over his decades in public life, we’ve heard about the tragedies our president elect has experienced: the trauma of the car accident that killed his first wife and small daughter, his own health challenges, his unsuccessful runs for president, and the death of his golden son Beau while his other son Hunter struggled with drug addiction.

But what are the deeper stories beneath this well-known narrative? What makes him tick? What is he like off-camera? And perhaps most important of all, what kind of president is he likely to be? That's what Evan Osnos set out to explore in his new biography Joe Biden: The Life, The Run, and What Matters Now. We know that Biden faced enormous personal tragedies and devoted himself to public service for most of his adult life. Yet for many, the private person remains something of an enigma. In his biography, Osnos portrays a canny political operator known for his bipartisanship who has always maintained a certain political looseness, partly because his stutter made him averse to teleprompters. Jamilah King talks with Osnos about Biden’s relationship with Mitch McConnell, his political evolution, and how his diverse cabinet picks square with his legislative record on racial justice. In just a few more weeks, Joe Biden will achieve the position he has been striving for since he was a kid. Here’s a chance to understand what that means for him–and for the country.

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