Late Show host Stephen Colbert talks with VP Biden in first TV interview since Election Day

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

CBS’ Late Show host Stephen Colbert recruited vice president Joe Biden to hold a heart-to-heart “family meeting” with America on Tuesday, hoping the “father figure with actual authority” could share some comforting wisdom following the country’s “sudden changes.”

Referring to himself as “dad” and to Biden as “pops,” Colbert proclaimed to his audience, “we know that you’re worried about the changes the family is going through.”

Family Meeting With Vice President Joe Biden by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on YouTube

“It happens to every family, but I’ll telling you, this terrible feeling you’re having right now, it’s not permanent,” the vice president said. “It’ll be over in four years, maybe eight.”

“Pops Joe” then offered a frank, but insightful, observation into American democracy, albeit it one embedded in a metaphor about mowing the lawn.

“Look, kid,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who’s mowing it. The point is, it’s the greatest lawn in the world, and no matter our differences, we’re all responsible for its upkeep. I’ve got to believe that, in their heart, the next mower is going to do the best they can to make sure that lawn that everyone feels safe to have a picnic on it.”

Following the candid “family meeting,” Colbert sat down with Biden for a more serious conversation. In his first TV interview since Election Day, Biden discussed everything from his decision not to launch a 2016 presidential bid to the possibility of a future run for the Oval Office.

Despite the outcome, the 45th vice president reiterated that he “made the right decision for [his] family” when he decided not to run, alluding to the death of his son, Beau Biden, whom he lost to cancer nearly a year and a half ago.

“I’m not sure I would have been able to put my whole heart into it, but what I regret is the circumstances that led me not to be able to run,” he said.

Mr. Biden, who has spent nearly four decades in public service, stirred a media frenzy Monday night when a Capitol Hill reporter asked if he would consider running for president in 2020. Biden replied with “Yeah I am. I am going to run…” A few moments later, however, he clarified his statement, saying he’s not committing to running, but that he’s leaving it up to fate.

In an exchange on the Late Show, Biden said age wouldn’t factor into his decision. “I can’t see the circumstance in which I’d run, but what I learned a long, long time ago, Stephen, is to never say never,” he said. “You don’t know what’s going to happen. Hell, Donald Trump’s going to be 74, I’ll be 77--and in better shape. What the heck?”

But he also said that approaching Trump’s administration with an obstructionist mindset won’t get the country far. Instead, he urged all Americans to give President-elect Trump “an actual even shot” -- to collaborate with him when he has good ideas, and to challenge him when he doesn’t.

  • Julia Boccagno

    Julia Boccagno is a news associate for CBS News.