Irish American Vice President Joe Biden is gearing up for a dramatic entry into the Democratic presidential race according to New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd and multiple other sources.
Dowd, who is close to the Biden family, wrote in her Sunday Times column that Beau Biden the VP’s 46-year old beloved son who died of brain cancer in May urged his dad on his deathbed to make the run.
Dowd writes “He (Beau) had a mission: He tried to make his father promise to run, arguing that the White House should not revert to the Clintons and that the country would be better off with Biden values.”
Dowd writes that meetings have been taking place among Biden friends and family.
Biden had been holding meetings at his residence, she wrote “talking to friends, family and donors about jumping in” to challenge Mrs. Clinton in Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two nominating states. Dowd wrote.
The dramatic Biden move comes at a time when Mrs Clinton is performing poorly in some polls especially in the key early states especially on the issue of being trustworthy. There are also stories of dissension in her camp as to how her campaign is being run.
A recent Quinnipiac poll showed Jeb Bush leading her by one point after Clinton had enjoyed a ten point lead in an earlier poll. That same poll showed Biden narrowly defeating Bush.
The New York Times political reporter Amy Chozick also wrote that Biden campaign now looked very likely. She wrote that “Mr. Biden’s advisers have started to reach out to Democratic leaders and donors who have not yet committed to Mrs. Clinton or who have grown concerned about what they see as her increasingly visible vulnerabilities as a candidate.
The conversations, often fielded by Mr. Biden’s chief of staff, Steve Ricchetti, have taken place through hushed phone calls and quiet lunches.”
With Senator Bernie Sanders proving a much strongercandidate than expected there is real fear in Democratic circles that Hillary could lose the key early primaries.
“The reality is it’s going to be a tough, even-steven kind of race, and there’s that moment when a lot of party establishment would start exactly this kind of rumble: ‘Is there anybody else?’ ” Joe Trippi, a Democratic strategist told The Times.
As an impassioned orator Biden would bring a vibrant presence to the campaign but at 74 he has already lost two attempts at the White House.
He was said to be offended that he was never considered when talk of the 2016 race and the Democratic nomination came up.
Biden’s Irish roots began with James Finnegan a blind musician who emigrated from Louth around 1845 who was his great grandfather and Catherine Roche his great grandmother from Louth also. Tw other great grandparents Patrick Blewitt from Mayo and Catherine Scanlon also from Mayo complete the Irish roots.
Biden discussed, with Irish America Magazine who honored him with induction into the Hall of Fame in 2013, the Finnegan family, who fled Ireland to avoid the Great Hunger. He said his great grandmother Finnegan was the only one who could read Gaelic, and she used to read letters from in Gaelic for those who could not read and she’d write back in Gaelic for them.
The Biden name appears to have come from a Huguenot family which has been traced to Liverpool in 1668. His father, a car salesman, insisted the name was Irish but Biden was never able to confirm that.
Biden was born in the Irish heartland of Scranton, Pennsylvania, one of the most Irish cities in America. There were already political genes in his DNA.
“Edward F. Blewett my grandmother’s father, was the first Irish Catholic state senator,” Biden recalled. “He was also the co-founder of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick in Scranton around 1908. There is still a plaque in existence in Scranton showing he was one of the founding members.”
Biden stated that he grew up in Scranton in “a predominantly Irish neighborhood and an overwhelmingly Irish parish. The centerpiece of life in Scranton was the church, the nuns, the priest the monsignor,” he recalled.
“Everybody had a sister who was a nun everybody had a brother a priest. Vocations were a big deal.”
His first Irish memories are of his Aunt Gertie when he went to his grandparents’ house.
“I’d go upstairs and lie on the bed and she’d come and scratch my back and say, ‘Now you remember Joey about the Black and Tans don’t you?’ She had never seen the Black and Tans, she had no notion of them, but she could recite chapter and verse about them.
“Obviously there were immigrants coming in who were able to talk about it and who had relatives back there. She was born in 1887. After she’d finish telling the stories I’d sit there or lie in bed and think at the slightest noise, ‘They’re coming up the stairs.’”
Biden confessed to hating Irish wakes, which were a constant when he was a child.
“I hated it, you know, everybody sitting around and drinking and the corpse in the next room ... there is something about the Irish that knows that to live is to be hurt, but we’re still not afraid to live.”
Biden has read Irish history extensively, and to this day his hero is Wolfe Tone leader of the 1798 Rebellion.
“Wolfe Tone is the embodiment of some of the things that I think are the noblest of all. He was a Protestant who formed the United Irishmen. He had nothing to gain on the face of it but he sought to relieve the oppression of the Catholics caused by the penal laws. He gave his life for the principle of civil rights for all people.