Joe Biden spoke about Cancer Moonshot, his new initiative, at Austin's SXSW

By Diana Pearl Kristen O'Brien
March 12, 2017 05:02 PM
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Former Vice President Joe Biden stepped out in Austin, Texas, on Sunday to speak at the city’s famed SXSW festival about his Cancer Moonshot initiative.

During his appearance, Biden revealed that Cancer Moonshot — which aims to accelerate cancer research and make more therapies available to patients — began during an “off-hand comment” that he made to former President Barack Obama following the 2015 death of his son Beau, who died from brain cancer.

“My name is Joe Biden and I am the husband of Jill Biden,” he said. “Jill and decided to devote the rest of our lives to this fight against cancer. We are driven by a desire to spare other families what our family, and other families, have gone through.”

“We had lost our son Memorial Day and I had to put off my bid to seek the presidential bid,” Biden continued. “I did not have the stomach to do it, no one should ever run for presidents of the US unless they are prepared to give every ounce of energy to that undertaking.

“While making that announcement, I made an off-hand comment to the President [Barack Obama], it was not prepared, that I had one regret in making the decision not to run. I had wanted to be the president to preside over eliminating cancer. But the great thing about working with President Obama was that when he gave me the assignment, he gave me the authority of a president to follow through on this.”

Since leaving the White House, Biden has kept a relatively low-profile (and is taking a well-deserved break), making only a few public appearances, including stepping out to support his daughter Ashley Biden’s debut of her clothing line last month.

As Biden himself has stepped back from the spotlight, members of his family have been thrust into it. Earlier this month, Hallie Biden, the widow of Biden’s son Beau, and Beau’s brother, Hunter Biden, confirmed that they were dating. Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, offered a statement of support to the couple at the time.

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“We are all lucky that Hunter and Hallie found each other as they were putting their lives together again after such sadness. They have mine and Jill’s full and complete support and we are happy for them.”

Hunter’s divorce proceedings from his estranged wife, Kathleen, have also made headlines. In the original February filing, Kathleen accused Hunter of spending the family’s money on prostitutes, drugs, alcohol and strip clubs.

Last week, they filed a consent motion to move forward with the divorce more amicably.