Joe Biden’s lifelong image has been as someone who is always holding back.

Washington:

Joe Biden, who was expecting to exit the US presidential race without a fight, hadn’t fully considered the life story of a proud but often stubborn man.

From playground punch-ups to horrific tragedies and multiple White House bids, Biden has long seen his life as a series of comebacks against impossible odds.

And with a Democratic revolt over his debate defeat against Donald Trump seemingly agonizing for now, the 81-year-old appears determined to win the fight of his political life.

Unless a major shift occurs, it will likely be up to American voters to decide whether Biden will make another turn-up for the books — or whether hubris will cost him and his party a historic defeat by Trump. Condemns.

Biden has repeatedly returned to his image as an underdog since the debate, repeating his family’s mantra that “when you fall, you get back up.”

“What we’ve seen in the last 10 to 12 days is certainly fundamental to Joe Biden’s story,” his spokeswoman Karen Jean-Pierre said from the White House podium on Tuesday.

“He’s someone who’s definitely been counted on a lot of times in his career. People knock him down, and you hear him say he’s back.

“It’s a story of him standing up for himself, standing up for millions of Americans.”

‘Punch the boy’

That perspective was shaped by a hard-scrabble childhood in the American Rust Belt, as part of a close-knit Irish Catholic family known for its fierce pride.

His mother Jane told young Joey and his siblings every day that “there was no one better than Biden,” Ben Cramer wrote about the 1988 U.S. election campaign in his book “What It Lies.”

He was also known to never back down.

“Most people who got into a fight, would break up… Joey didn’t,” Kramer wrote. “He decided to fight … Bango — he’d punch the guy in the face.”

One affliction that Biden famously battled was a childhood stammer.

Repeatedly humiliated in school, the young Biden taught himself how to speak smoothly with sheer determination, repeating phrases over and over in the mirror.

But Biden’s biggest test was yet to come.

In 1972, he was just 29 years old and had just been elected as a Delaware senator when his wife Nelia and their one-year-old daughter Naomi were killed in a car accident, while their young sons Beau and Hunter were seriously injured. .

Tragedy struck again in 2015 when Beau died of brain cancer at the age of 46.

Biden also had to deal with Hunter’s severe drug addiction and legal problems.

“Sometimes I marvel at Joe’s strength. His life has been plagued by cruel losses,” first lady Jill Biden, whom Biden married in 1977, said in her memoir, “Where the Light Enters.” said

‘psychic prison’

With his family around him, Biden has also endured a string of political humiliations.

In 1988, he was forced to abandon his first presidential bid after a plagiarism scandal.

His next bid in 2008 ended in a landslide defeat in the Democratic primaries, before Barack Obama chose him as his running mate.

Yet in the current crisis over Biden’s age and health, the same things that once powered Biden could also be his downfall.

It’s common knowledge that he’ll only listen to family members and a few aides he’s known for decades, but that bubble is increasingly insular as he gets older.

His long-standing belief that he is underestimated and ridiculed by the media means he is less likely to listen to outside voices.

Additionally, Biden’s lifelong image as someone who is always holding back means he can’t imagine getting out gracefully this time.

Franklin Foer, author of a book on Biden’s early presidency, recently wrote in The Atlantic magazine that “humiliation – and transcendence – is the true story of Biden.”

“Right now it’s his psychological prison, a mental habit that could destroy American democracy.”

(Other than the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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