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Will This Be Joe Biden’s F.D.R. Moment?


Illustration by Golden Cosmos; Source photograph by Tom Brenner / Getty


Joe Biden has been playing it safe during the coronavirus pandemic, but Evan Osnos got the chance to sit down with the nominee in person. It was too hot to sit outside, but the campaign staff didn’t want an outsider in Biden’s home, so the interview took place in a small house on the property that Biden’s late mother stayed in. In a wide-ranging conversation, Biden compares his position—should he win—to that of Franklin Roosevelt: taking office during a disaster, he argues, he would have an opportunity to effect a hugely ambitious agenda, but driven by pragmatism rather than ideology. (He was not comparing himself to Roosevelt, he hastened to add.) While the country is ever more partisan, Biden describes his centrism and his propensity for off-the-cuff remarks as an advantage. “The good news is the bad news,” he told Osnos. “Everybody knows me, and you guys know me, the good and bad. . . . It’s kind of hard to pin a label on someone that’s inconsistent with who they are. To make me out to be a revolutionary, it’s awful hard to do. Conversely, it’s awful hard to make me out to be a right-wing, very conservative Democrat.”

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