Former VP Joe Biden offers solution to Washington gridlock at Las Vegas conference

A little respect will go a long way toward solving the angst and gridlock plaguing Washington D.C. politics, former Vice President Joe Biden told a collection of business and political leaders Thursday night at the Bellagio.

Democrats and Republicans alike are attacking each others’ motives rather than their arguments, Biden said. That makes the arguments personal, and difficult to work together on, he said.

“Everybody is entitled to the dignity they’ve earned,” added Biden, who served six terms as a U.S. senator from Delaware before his eight years as vice president to Barack Obama.

Biden talked about politics and his experiences in Congress and the White House during The SALT 2017 Conference, which hosts debates and discussion on economics and geopolitics, and how they impact investment markets.

Biden told the audience that he is personal friends with several Republicans, including U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and that enabled them to work across the aisle on issues. Those types of friendships, he said, don’t seem to exist in Washington anymore.

“You gotta look at the other guy or other woman and show some respect. Argue like hell about what they’re doing, but show some respect,” he said.

Biden said he believes the divisiveness will eventually soften between the parties.

“This fever has to break,” he added.

Biden also spoke of his decision not to run for president in the 2016 election.

Biden frustrated many Democrats by what was seen as him dragging his decision out. He told the press and party operatives he’d make a decision by August 2015, but Biden told the SALT audience he knew in his heart he wouldn’t be running long before that.

Biden’s son, Beau Biden III, had been diagnosed with stage 4 glioblastoma, a brain cancer with a very low survival rate that took his life in May 2015 at the age of 46.

“You should never run for president unless you can look the public in the eye and say, ‘You’ll have all my effort, all my energy and all my time,’” Biden said.

The moderator asked Biden if he would run for president in the future.

“Could I? Yes,” Biden said. “Would I? Probably no.”

Contact Colton Lochhead at or 702-383-4638, Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

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