Sen. Joe Biden Talks About Presidential Race, New Book

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," August 6, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Senator Joe Biden is no stranger to struggle. He fought to overcome severe stuttering, the death of his wife and daughter in a car accident, and a near fatal brain aneurysm.

But Senator Biden is a fighter. And now he is fighting to be your next president. But did you know that the senator is also an author? He has a new book out called "Promises to Keep on Life and Politics."

Senator Joe Biden joins us live from Delaware. Welcome, Senator.

SEN JOE BIDEN, D-DEL.: Nice to be here with you, Greta, thanks for having me.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, why did you pick this title?

BIDEN: The publisher had some other ideas, but I thought it was most appropriate because when I wrote this book, I wrote about trying to figure out how my values and my principles inform my public policy, and it all came down to keeping promises—promises to yourself, promises to people, promises of our country to the world.

And so it just seemed appropriate, and that is how I came up with the title. It is about keeping promises.

VAN SUSTEREN: What promise do you keep to yourself?

BIDEN: The promises you keep to yourself are those that — for example, when the doctors told me I didn't have such a hot chance of living, and told me after I had the last rites, told me I should speak to my sons before this operation on my cranial aneurysm in my head, I hoped that I would live up to my expectation of leaving my sons with an image that I was someone in control, and was not afraid, and wanted to let them know what I expected of them.

And that is a promise to myself. A promise to myself was one where we all make them to ourselves about hoping we live up to expectations of being the kind of father, or husband, or son, or brother that you want to be.

They are the kinds of promises that I made to myself, and they were really promises that, I guess, were inculcated in me, like they are in many of us, how we were raised based on our religious faith, and a number of other factors, I suspect.

VAN SUSTEREN: In reading your book, besides the brain aneurysm, from which, I understand, you fully recovered, you have had a personal tragedy in your life, the death of your wife and daughter. Does that somehow make you understand, or empathize more with people? Does it help you in your job in some sort of unusual way?

BIDEN: It is hard to tell. It is hard to talk about, quite frankly. That is the toughest part of the book. When I wrote it, I did not include it initially, and the editors told me how I could talk about my life and the lessons I've learned without including that. So I did.

But I think it did teach me a couple things. One is that there are an awful lot of people without that kind of help and support I had from my family and my community who have gone through similar tragedies who didn't have the kind of assistance I had, yet they made it. They put one foot in front of the other and they did it.

And I think it gave me a greater appreciation of what it is like to be a single parent. I had a great deal of help. I had two young boys, and I knew how difficult it was, and I can only imagine how hard it is or a single mother living on minimum-wage raising two sons, being held with their sons to the same standard as mine.

And it also gave me a sense, Greta, of how much resilience there is in the human spirit, and how, as my dad would say, the measure of success is not whether you got knocked down, but how quickly you get up. And so many people, every single day, are getting up, dealing with tragedies. There is a heck of a foundation for us to build this country. There are a lot of people with a lot of grit.

VAN SUSTEREN: Let me ask you about some current events. Senator Feingold wants to have the President, the Vice President, and the Attorney General censured. What is your view of that? I think the words of the censure are for misleading the American people about the war?

BIDEN: I think that is much more appropriate than impeaching. At least the censure-ship could demonstrate our dissatisfaction and our view that the president has stepped across the line, and the vice president has, as well. And clearly, the Attorney General has.

And so, although I have not considered it very much, it is relatively new, I have not seen the language he is proposing. But the idea of censuring the president, censuring the Attorney General, censuring the vice president is not inappropriate.

But what I don't want to see happen, is I don't want to see us take our eye off the ball of how we're going to end this war now, how we are going to be able to begin to get the kind of response that people are looking for in matters relating to everything from their health care to our energy policies.

So to the extant that it wouldn't detract from us being able to build a coalition to get 17 Republican Senators to join us in overriding the Presidential veto to end this war, I think it is not inappropriate.

The question is, will it be viewed as divisive and make it harder for us to get Republicans to join us in something I believe they know is now working, and the president's policy on the war.

VAN SUSTEREN: I teased you a little bit on this, and I don't know if you heard, it, but your wife was on a billboard, and I said you married her after that. So, in all fairness, you have to explain that. It is in the book.

BIDEN: That is true. One day I got off the plane, a little local flight into Wilmington, Delaware. I had not been dating anyone. I had sworn off dating. I had been put on that 10 most eligible bachelor list, which I did not like.

And I saw a beautiful woman on a billboard that was in the local airport, advertising the county park system. And I got home that night, and my youngest brother said, "We are all going to dinner, I have a blind date for you." I said, "No, I'm not going to do it."

I eventually did do it. It turned out the woman I went out with was that beautiful woman on the billboard who I have been married to for 30 years.

VAN SUSTEREN: That is a great story, and there is much more in you brand new book. Senator Biden, thank you, sir.

BIDEN: Thank you for having me, Greta, I appreciate it.

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