I have to tell you that, with every occasion that I see or hear Joe Biden,
my respect for him goes up...and up.  The Boston Globe reports this
morning that "Biden (is) taking a distinctive approach to policy questions:
complex answers."  But, actually, he has always been that way which should
have made me more alert to him as a presidential candidate.  Not that I
agree with him on everything.  Still, here is a very serious and
knowledgeable thinker...and, as those of you who watched him at the
Philadelphia debate, also a very funny one.  Oh, for real humor!  Yes, how
about that crack about Giuliani.

The fact is that I've known Biden for 35 years.  Or, rather, I knew Biden
(briefly) 35 years ago.  Near the end of his first campaign for the U.S.
Senate, he called me on the phone and said that he was running
neck-and-neck with his incumbent opponent J. Caleb Boggs.  He needed money,
and -- as I recall -- I sent him $12,000 (there were almost no restrictions at
the time).  That was really a lot money in those days, particularly in a
tiny state like Delaware, and he won.  I don't remember getting a thank you
letter from him, and I can't find one in my admittedly disorganized files.

Shortly after his first election, his wife and infant daughter died in a
car crash.  Biden confessed to the public that he might not take up his
Senate seat.  Many in the out-of-state peacenik constituency felt
betrayed.  I wrote him to say that I thought he would be fully justified in
devoting his time to his young sons rather than go to the Senate.
No letter this time either.

So here's another virtue.  This politician does not kow-tow to his