A father, who happens to be VP, opens up about his son’s loss

That was a pretty extraordinary interview that Stephen Colbert conducted last night with Vice President Joe Biden.

It was a stark reminder of how rare it is to watch a politician to answer questions, and not hear the answer drop and play like a jukebox.

But Biden wasn’t so much a politician as he was a father whose son died not long ago.

“I never once, my word as a Biden, never ever heard my child complain,” he said. “I was a hell of a success. My son was better than me. He was better than me in every way.”

“He said, ‘Dad, sit down, I want to talk to you,'” Biden recounted. “And he said, ‘Dad, I know how much you love me. You’ve got to promise me something. Promise me you’re going to be alright. He said no matter what happens dad, I’m going to be all right. Promise me.’ This is the kid who — I don’t know what it was about him. He had this enormous sense of empathy.”

“So many people who have losses as severe or maybe worse than mine and don’t have the support I have,” he said. “I feel self-conscious. The loss is serious and it’s consequential, but there are so many other people going through this.”

Biden said he was giving a speech in July when someone shouted, “Maj. Beau Biden. Bronze Star, sir. Served with him in Iraq,” Biden said.

“I was doing great,” Biden continued. “I lost it. You can’t do that.”

Why not?

By the way, the man who conducted that interview lost his father and two brothers in a plane crash 41 years ago today.