Biden: My talk with Beau about running was no 'Hollywood moment'

Story highlights

  • Biden reveals his conversation with dying son wasn't like in the movies
  • "I just don't think it's time," Biden told wife and surviving son Hunter

Washington (CNN)Joe Biden says his son Beau's death bed encouragement of a 2016 bid for the presidency was no "Hollywood-esque thing."

The vice president said in an interview with CBS' "60 Minutes" on Sunday that reports that Beau Biden -- the Delaware attorney general and rising Democratic political star who died of brain cancer in May -- was fueling his father's desire to mount one last campaign were overdone.
"Some people have written that, you know, Beau on his death bed said, 'Dad, you've got to run,' or, there was this sort of Hollywood moment that -- you know, nothing like that ever, ever happened," Biden said apparently referring to a Maureen Dowd column in the New York Times.
    In his first interview since announcing last week that he would not run, Biden said his sons, Beau and Hunter, had for years been "two of my most reliable advisers."
    "Beau all along thought that I should run and I could win," Biden said. "But there was not what was sort of made out as kind of this Hollywood-esque thing that at the last minute Beau grabbed my hand and said, 'Dad, you've got to run, like, win one for the Gipper.' It wasn't anything like that."
    Here are some other takeaways from the vice president's interview with Norah O'Donnell:

    Emotional turmoil

    While Beau Biden might not have been the chief reason his father considered running for president, Joe Biden said the mourning process held him back -- even as the notion of solidifying President Barack Obama's legacy pushed him forward.
    He said he watched his 11-year-old granddaughter -- Beau's daughter -- run in a track meet recently.
    "And she runs and she finishes and I give her a big hug, she said, 'Daddy would be happy, wouldn't he? Wouldn't he?'" Biden said.
    "So it's a total -- you know, it just -- it just takes time. And until you get there, you know, it's not -- not an appropriate thing to throw your -- and by the way, you can't run for president unless you throw your entire being into it."

    Telling his family

    Biden got quick support from his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, when he informed his family that he'd decided against mounting a campaign.
    But Jill Biden said on "60 Minutes" that she still was "disappointed" her husband wouldn't be on the 2016 ballot.
    "I came home and Hunter, our son, was upstairs with mom -- with Jill. And I walked in and I said, 'You know, I just don't think it's time.' I just decided -- I don't think we can run the kind of campaign we have to run to be able to win," Joe Biden said.
    "And I remember, Jill just got up off the couch, gave me a big hug and said, 'I think you're right,'" he added.
    Jill Biden said: "I think I was disappointed. You know, like I said in the beginning. I mean, I thought Joe would be a great president. I'd seen his -- in the 40 years we've been together, I've seen the strength of his character, his optimism, you know, his hope. ... So I believed he would have been the best president."

    How President Obama felt

    Biden said Obama "wanted me to do what I thought was best" -- whether that meant running for president or passing on the race.
    Biden talked to the president on the morning he'd decided not to run, setting in motion the news conference in the Rose Garden in which Obama stood at Biden's side.
    "I called the president early in the morning and he was in the gym working out. And he took my call and I said -- 'Mr. President,' I said, 'We decided. I -- I'm not going to run,'" Biden recounted.
    "And he knew how close it was, what was going on. And I said, 'I'm going to go out and announce it this morning or -- or early afternoon.' He said, 'Joe, I'll be proud to stand with you.'"

    No shots at Clinton

    Biden raised eyebrows the night before announcing he wouldn't run when he condemned the notion of looking at Republicans as enemies -- and then repeated the point as he announced he wouldn't run.
    It seemed like a clear message to Hillary Clinton, who had -- somewhat jokingly -- said in the first Democratic debate days earlier than Republicans are among the enemies she's proudest of making.
    "That wasn't directed at Hillary," Biden said of his comments about the need to work across party lines. "That was a reference to Washington. All of Washington."
    The vice president also said Clinton's strong performance in the debate had "nothing to do with" his decision not to run for president -- particularly since he'd debated Clinton 13 times during in the 2008 Democratic primaries.

    15 months left

    Now that Biden is finished running for office, he said he wants to use his remaining 15 months in office to "really begin to nail down this commitment to work on cancer and head toward a moonshot."
    Brain cancer is the disease that killed Biden's son Beau. He said he and Obama had already talked about addressing the disease.
    Biden also said he thinks the Obama administration can advance some key policies with Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, if he becomes House speaker -- a job he's expected to win within days.
    "I think we can make some real progress, particularly with Paul Ryan, who is a good guy, on working toward an accommodation on the budget and on keeping the government open," he said. "This is a decent guy. And he knows you cannot function -- this government can't function -- without reaching some consensus, and he wants to do that."