Another Totally Normal Day on the Not-Campaign Trail With Uncle Joe

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Joe Biden spent another day playing nice with Republicans and downplaying his missteps as he continues to not (officially) run for president.


Biden spoke at the University of Pennsylvania on Thursday for a panel on the opioid crisis, one that included several esteemed doctors, politicians, and also Jeb Bush. At the event, both of the otherwise shoddy politicians managed to say some good things. Biden singled out the drug companies and irresponsible medical professionals. He said that behind closed doors, legislators in Washington “really don’t buy into [the idea] that addiction is a disease. They think it’s willpower.”

On the topic of the crisis, Bush, who was praised as one of the first governors to address the crisis, spoke about the first drug court system being set up in Florida and his experience fighting to restructure the top-heavy national response to localize solutions. Because he’s Jeb!, he also called for a “higher understanding” of the fact that “it’s not cool to take drugs in general.”

Then, of course, there was the rest of it.

At one point about midway through the event, Bush encouraged anyone “thinking about” running for president to do so, to which Biden—who’s run twice now—jokingly responded, “speaking of addiction.” Biden went on to say things like “I know I get beat on the crime bill, but.” (He followed up on that later in the panel, admitting it was a “big mistake” to buy into the idea that “crack cocaine was different than powder cocaine.”) And then there came the moment when Biden turned to Bush and said the words, “You were a hell of a governor,” marking the second time in six months Biden has gone to an elite institution and heaped praise on one of the Bush boys.

And that was about it! Well, I guess that’s if you follow his lead and ignore that whole mess CNN reported yesterday on how Biden was buddy-buddy with all the segregationists of the 1970s on the issue of busing. (Remember, this is a man who attended the funeral of proud segregationist Jesse Helms.) Anyways, Biden, who, again, is not formally running for president despite favorable polls and reports last week of him making a trip to his hometown with a film crew, had a pretty uneventful Thursday.