This summer, your FLASHBACK series is looking back at fawning over Joe Biden through the decades. Whether it’s finding his gaffes “charming” or gushing over his marriage to Jill Biden, journalists have done everything they can to spin for the Democrat.
A little over ten years ago, on February 12, 2010, Good Morning America co-host Robin Roberts thrilled, “Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill. Real-life valentines, 35 years and counting. How they keep the romance alive.” Former Democratic hack turned GMA co-host George Stephanopoulos enthused, “They don't often talk about it, but their decades-long marriage is a famous Washington love story. And, Juju, they are clearly best friends."
Then-news anchor Juju Chang agreed: “They really are. And we know there's been a lot of cynicism about political marriages, right? But the Bidens have a genuine love and respect for each other." She then tossed this softball to Joe Biden: "Politics famously wreaks havoc on political marriages. Yours is not only a strong marriage but a true love affair.”
Of course, this was ten years before former Democratic staffer Tara Reade stepped forward to accuse Biden of sexual assault. From March 25, 2020 to April 24, 2020, ABC simply ignored the story.
At one point during the 2010 segment, Jill Biden announced that "a lot" of Washington power couples have solid marriages. Certainly, that's true. But, why does ABC highlight and rhapsodize over the Democratic ones? The morning show wasn't nearly as interested in the enduring romance of Dick and Lynne Cheney or repeatedly reminisce about Ronald and Nancy Reagan.
Two and a half years after the GMA segment, Politico hyped Biden as a heartthrob who is “bringing sexy back.”
“He’s No. 2 on the ticket but No. 1 in their hearts. Women born before the baby boom generation seem to have a collective crush on a handsome vice presidential candidate with piercing blue eyes and a wide smile who likes to talk about government benefits for seniors. No, not Paul Ryan. Joe Biden’s bringing sexy back....”
— Politico’s Jonathan Allen in an October 2, 2012 story posted to his newspaper’s Web site, “Joe Biden, Sex Symbol?”
For more examples from our flashback series, which we call the NewsBusters Time Machine, go here.
Here’s the transcript for the February 12, 2010 GMA segment. Click “expand” to read more.
Good Morning America
ROBIN ROBERTS: And an exclusive interview with Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill. Real-life valentines. 35 Years and counting, how they keep the romance alive.
ROBERTS: Coming up, our exclusive interview with Vice President Biden and his wife. Their 35 year love affair and what they say is their secret for success.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: A love story that passed the test of time and politics. Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill talk to us in a rare interview together. Their secrets to a long marriage, just in time for Valentine’s Day.
ABC GRAPHIC: True Valentines
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS [Everlasting Love is playing in the background]: In this morning’s GMA’s Be Mine on Valentine, Juju went to the Naval Observatory in Washington for a visit with Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill. Now, they don’t often talk about it, but their decades-long marriage is a famous Washington love story. And, Juju, they are clearly best friends.
JUJU CHANG: They really are. And we know there's been a lot cynicism about political marriages, right? But the Bidens have a genuine love and respect for each other that's easy to see. At one point, there, they pointed to the backyard of the residence and called their pool, grandchild bait. They said they love to have the grandchildren come over. They're a very tight-knit clan. At the center of it is a sweet love story. Politics famously wreaks havoc on political marriages. Yours is not only a strong marriage but a true love affair.
JOE BIDEN: At least on my part of it. As long as we know that the career is less important than the marriage, then it works. And for us, it's- this is no great love story. It's just, you know, what both our parents taught us. You just- everything works, if the marriage is working.
CHANG: So, you think political marriages have gotten a bad name?
JILL BIDEN: I do. A lot of the couples we know, and have spent time with, have really solid marriages. And I think this lifestyle is too tough not to really stick together. People say, "Oh, everybody cheats in Washington." And that's not the truth. You have to have a strong marriage to survive it.
CHANG: For this couple, it started 35 years ago when a young, widowed father, went on a blind date with a coed. And fell madly in love. Love at first sight?
JOE BIDEN: It sounds stupid. But, really and truly, the second date we went on, I called her and said, "Would you do me a favor? Would you not go out for a while?"
CHANG: And the boys literally asked that you marry her.
JOE BIDEN: Beau said, "Daddy, we were talking. We think we should marry Jill."
JILL BIDEN: And they were the easiest part of the marriage.
CHANG: Five years earlier, Joe Biden's first wife, and mother of their children, Beau and Hunter, died in a car accident, along with their infant daughter.
BEAU BIDEN: We, my brother, dad and I, married our mom, Jill. And they, together, rebuilt our family.
JILL BIDEN: When we got married, I became their mom. I instantly quit my job. I did the mom thing.
CHANG: She also went back and got a PhD and worked as a college professor. It's known among your staff that we- they say "We literally can't tell the Vice President when Jill is around campus because he gets so distracted. And so excited."
JOE BIDEN: It's kind of embarrassing that it's so obvious to each other.
JUJU CHANG: I think you're blushing now!
JOE BIDEN: It's so obvious to everybody. I mean- But, I drive her nuts because she needs some space. But when she's in, why don't we go over and have lunch. No, she's got something to do. Well, why can't- it's only across the street. Why can't I go eat my soup-
JILL BIDEN: And my staff will say, he's coming over again. I'm blessed to have a husband who loves me so much, really.
CHANG: So, give the rest of us a break. Some things gotta annoy you. You must fight over some things.
JOE BIDEN: Oh, we fight over a lot of things. We're like every other couple. Love is hard. And I mean, it's not- there's nothing easy about it. I will not leave the house. I swear to God, until she kisses me and gives me a hug, when we've had a fight. Because, you never know- I know in my own life experience. I think to myself, what would have happened in my previous circumstance, had I had a big fight? And then something happened? And so, I'm- and that drives her nuts.
CHANG: I understand that when you have a, sort of, policy dispute or you want to get his attention on a policy issue, you have a specific tactic?
JILL BIDEN: Oh, yeah. I make my point on his bathroom mirror. A lot of times I scotch tape a point I want to make. Or if I see an article in the paper that, maybe, shows my side or my point of view. And a lot of times the scotch tape goes back and forth.
JOE BIDEN: Not back and forth. One way. One way scotch tape. Scotch tape only goes one way.
CHANG: One-way scotch tape? A practical joker, Professor Biden is known for her easy sense of humor. Do you have fun together?
JOE BIDEN: Besides making fun of me.
CHANG: That's fun for a lot of wives. What does she make fun of you about?
JILL BIDEN: Yeah, Joe, what could there be?
JOE BIDEN: What could there probably be. She makes fun of everything, when I wake up that my hair's sticking up, to with the kids, to whether or not I- that I'm too serious. She'll kid- I mean, I am the sport at the family dinner table.
CHANG: For her favorite holiday, Valentine's, the second lady snuck into the Vice President's White House office last year.
JOE BIDEN: There's these big windows that are probably 10, 12 feet high. And every pane of glass, Jill had lipstick.
JILL BIDEN: No. They were poster paint.
JOE BIDEN: And all in red. "Jill loves Joe." And all of these hearts and valentines. You know, it pleased me. But it didn't surprise me.
CHANG: The White House valentine. Now, I tried really hard to find out what was in store for this Valentine's Day. But it's like a state secret. But, a funny story: The Vice President had to propose to her five times and give her an ultimatum. He has something to top on last year's valentine.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It sure seems like they were. What a terrific story. Now, he's got something to top on last year's Valentine's.
CHANG: Oh, yeah. Absolutely.