Vice President Biden's office is pushing back on a report that claims the former Delaware senator urged a columnist in his home state to try to convince his son Beau to run for his old Senate seat.
Harry F. Themal, who's written a column for the Wilmington, Del., News Journal for 20 years, wrote in his Sunday column that he caught up with the vice president in Washington, D.C., where he got a "surprising request" from Biden.
"If you run into Beau, talk him into running; he respects you," Biden reportedly told the writer.
Themal wrote that he told the vice president that he doesn't think Beau Biden wants to run for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by placeholder Sen. Ted Kaufman, a former chief of staff to Joe Biden.
"I don't think he does either. I know he doesn't want to," Biden reportedly told Themal, adding that he'd campaign for his son if he ran.
But Politico.com reported that according to a transcript of the conversation provided by Biden's office, Biden was referring to Kaufman, not his son, during that exchange.
"Talk Ted into running, if Beau doesn't," Biden reportedly said. "Talk him into running - he respects you."
Biden's office is trying to obtain a correction from the News Journal, according to Politico.com.
But the conversation would still indicate that the vice president has serious doubts about whether his son will run for the Delaware Senate seat.
Beau Biden is the state's attorney general and an officer in the Delaware Army National Guard.
He was deployed in 2008 to Iraq and returned in September 2009. After his father was elected vice president, he said he would not seek and didn't want an appointment for the vacant seat.