New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd on Tuesday defended a column that has been closely scrutinized in recent days, telling Public Editor Margaret Sullivan that an anecdote describing Vice President Joe Biden’s dying son is true.
The column is accurate. The Vice President confirmed on CBS that he often talked to Beau about running for president, and that Beau thought all along that his dad could run and win. Mr. Biden said what never occurred was a “Hollywood-esque thing that at the last minute” there was a deathbed request where Beau “grabbed my hand and said, ‘Dad, you’ve got to run.'”
Dowd’s response comes two days after after Biden appeared on “60 Minutes” and expressed frustration with media coverage surrounding the runup to his announcement not to run for president. He took issue with “Hollywood-esque” reports that his dying son, Beau Biden, tried to convince him to run for president on his deathbed, saying they were inaccurate. Biden did not mention Dowd during the interview and took umbrage with a dramatic characterization that did not appear in her column.
On Monday, New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet backed Dowd, telling The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple that her account was supported by similar reports in other news outlets. Sullivan supported Dowd emphatically in her column, writing that “it’s simply not the case” she concocted the Biden tale.
However, Sullivan says a story written by Times reporter Amy Chozick that described Beau Biden urging a presidential run as he “lay dying” took Dowd’s anecdote “a step too far.”