Joe Biden and John McCain shared an award for civility last year. On Wednesday, Biden and McCain's daughter Meghan shared a TV moment that journalists — trained to be dispassionate — called “heartbreaking,” “powerfully emotional” and “a real tearjerker.”
On ABC's “The View,” co-host Meghan McCain choked up as she told Biden, a Democrat, that she “couldn't get through” the former vice president's book about coping with the death of his son Beau from brain cancer. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was diagnosed with the same form of cancer this year.
“I think about Beau almost every day, and I was told — sorry,” Meghan McCain said, struggling through tears to complete her sentence, “that it doesn't get easier.”
Biden, seated at a distance from McCain, moved to a chair beside her and grasped her hand.
“One of the things that gave Beau courage — my word — was John,” Biden said. “Your dad — you may remember, when you were a little kid, your dad took care of my Beau. Your dad . . . became friends with Beau. And Beau talked about your dad's courage.”
Biden went on to highlight medical advances that, he said, should give cancer patients hope that breakthroughs are coming.
“It can happen tomorrow,” Biden said.
“If anybody can make it, your dad” can, he added. “Her dad is one of my best friends. Her dad goes after me hammer and tong. We're like two brothers who were somehow raised by different fathers or something because of our points of view . . . I know — and I mean this sincerely — I know if I picked up the phone tonight and called John McCain and said, 'John, I'm at Second and Vine in Oshkosh, and I need your help; come,' he'd get on a plane and come. And I would for him, too.”
Journalists left, right and center said on Twitter that the moment moved them.
The Washington Post's Monica Hesse recently reported that Americans are tuning in to Hallmark Channel Christmas movies in record numbers to escape the rancor of contemporary politics. That's one approach. Joe Biden and Meghan McCain just showed that on rare occasions the political world can produce a touch of holiday warmth, too.