Everyone who has done time in Washington politics or media has a Joe Biden story, and every story is pretty much the same. Here’s mine:
A quarter-century ago, Sen. Joseph R. Biden of Delaware, then in his third term, came in for a lunch with a few editors and reporters at the newspaper where I worked. Its editor welcomed Biden and asked him a question about whatever story was at the top of the news agenda that day.
Biden started talking. And talking. And talking. He spoke and he gesticulated. He wandered off into secondary subjects, and secondary subjects of the secondary subjects. He conjured up a memory of his childhood, and then told a tale from his first campaign.
After 20 minutes without so much as a breath, it was clear to me and others around the table that there was something wrong — that our guest simply did not know how to conclude his peroration.
We shifted in our chairs. Someone coughed. Someone else sighed. The door loomed behind us, tormenting us with the blessings of an escape we simply could not make.
It was not until 45 minutes after he had begun that Joseph I. Biden simply ran out of gas. He came to no conclusion, no closing thought. He just stopped talking, looked down, and at last took a bite of food and drank some water.