Biden the under-appreciated political insider

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption How Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff found this power broker

Jake Sullivan, Biden’s Vice President adviser, is fascinated by the Vice President’s role. “He’s playing a very complicated public role and a very complicated private role,” he says. “Vice President Biden was running for president for 44 years and in those 44 years he has been trying to define himself.” In his new book, “Freshman Year”, a memoir of Biden’s days in the Senate, Sullivan recalls the vice president having “no business” taking on the role of running for president. That left the party in a very acute moment of crisis, he says. They had no clear alternative and had run out of time. “And in the half a century since the vice presidency has been part of American political discourse, the previous two candidates who had done it had all ended up collapsing in exhaustion, unable to get any traction, unelectable,” Sullivan says. ‘Energy crisis’ Former Vice President Joe Biden has “never let my father down in a campaign”. Image caption Biden: 2016 ‘not going to happen’

“That’s part of the extent of the impact he’s made.” He has a “political instinct that he’s always shown,” Sullivan says. “I don’t know of anybody who’s had as extensive a life in politics and who knows as much about politics. At a time when the nation is deeply divided, I think that energy and that process he was able to tap into really makes him an important figure.” Sullivan says that before Biden announced his candidacy, the most prominent Democrat to have given him ink was Bernie Sanders. The Vermont senator was the same age as Biden, but he had a “tactical understanding of how to do this,” Sullivan says. “So we never had the chance to have a really meaningful conversation.” On politics, Sullivan describes Biden as “very hopeful and supportive and wants to make change – but he also understands that everybody has to be part of the solution.”

If you want to find out more about Sullivan, you’ll need to pick up a copy of his new book, “Freshman Year”, published by Simon & Schuster on 25 November.

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