Draft Biden, a super PAC encouraging Vice President Joe Biden to run for president, released its first advertisement on Wednesday.
The 90-second ad, “My Redemption,” first released on the Internet, uses Biden’s own words from his commencement address at Yale this year to describe how the tragic loss of his wife and infant daughter in a 1972 car accident made him a better parent and a stronger person. Biden’s sons, Beau and Hunter, survived the fatal accident, which occurred just a few weeks after Biden’s election to his first term in the Senate.
“The incredible bond I have with my children is the gift I’m not sure I would have had, had I not been through what I went through,” Biden intones, as we see images of his Senate swearing-in by his sons’ side in the hospital. “But by focusing on my sons I found my redemption.”
The ad then shows images of Beau Biden, who died of brain cancer in late May at age 46.
“My dad’s definition of success is when you look at your son and daughter and realize they turned out better than you,” Biden says. “And they did.” The video closes with the words "Joe, run" appearing in white on a black screen.
Sarah Ford, a spokesperson for Draft Biden, said the super PAC will air the ad nationally in all cable markets. She said it was a six-figure ad buy.
Rumors of a Biden bid began months ago, but picked up in earnest over the course of the summer. The New York Times reported in August that Biden was actively exploring a bid in consultation with friends, family and Democratic donors.
The months since then have been dominated by "will he or won't he" speculation as his support in the polls has risen and putative Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton has struggled to cope with the controversy over her private email server.
It has been widely reported that Beau asked his father to run for president on his deathbed in late May. Politico reported on Monday that it was Biden himself who leaked the story of Beau’s dying wish for his father, a claim that Biden has vehemently denied.
Democratic strategist David Axelrod tweeted his distaste for the ad on Wednesday, saying he didn't think the vice president would approve.
Draft Biden believes that the vice president's personal story will resonate not just with people who have lost a loved one, but with Americans struggling to overcome all kinds of challenges in life.
"This sort of story isn’t just limited to those dealing with the grief of a loved one’s death, but the incredible difficulties that everyday people face: unemployment, serious illness or debilitation, and so on," Ford said. "And all of us pull ourselves up, find hope and happiness in our support networks, in the promise of a better future, in the fact that we live in the greatest country in the world. The vice president’s story is synonymous to so many Americans."
Biden has not yet announced his plans definitively.