Joe Biden was so disciplined during the vice presidential debate, so brief (under five minutes!) in his speech bidding farewell to his son Beau and other members of his Delaware National Guard unit heading to Iraq, that his inner self sought some release, some way of saying, "Hey, the old Joe's still alive." "The very thing people like best about me at home is that I don't have to pick every word and parse everything," he says the day after the debate, at a Wilmington, Dela., coffee shop. "And if I say something politically incorrect, they know my motive is good."
His tone is wistful as he explains how the new 24/7 coverage is draining all spontaneity from politics: "It's a shame. It requires you to withhold." So he doesn't, and proceeds to spill on subjects ranging from the demands he made before agreeing to go on the ticket, to his feelings about Barack Obama and John McCain, to a confession and Bidenesque rationalization of his own weaknesses. No gaffes, but the level of detail won't thrill the Obamaniacal control freaks in Chicago.