Who gains by hurting Joe Biden? New Hampshire, Sept. 7, 2012. Joking with the Vice President Joe Biden before a campaign rally in Portsmouth. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Who gains by hurting Joe Biden?

New Hampshire, Sept. 7, 2012. Joking with the Vice President Joe Biden before a campaign rally in Portsmouth. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

IT WAS a hit piece meant to do as much damage to Vice President Joe Biden as possible. How could it have been anything else? Unless you believe the grief over losing Beau Biden was less important for Vice President Joe Biden than it was to float a story to test the presidential waters.

According to multiple sources, it was Biden himself who talked to her, painting a tragic portrait of a dying son, Beau’s face partially paralyzed, sitting his father down and trying to make him promise to run for president because “the White House should not revert to the Clintons and that the country would be better off with Biden values.” [Politico]

Politicians will be politicians, whether they’re Hillary, Joe Biden or Jeb Bush, but you’ve got to really believe the worst about someone to think Biden would use his son’s death to launch his presidential campaign as he fights off grief that was still on his sleeve when he talked with Stephen Colbert.

Biden’s team didn’t push back on the story until the end of the day.

“The bottom line on the POLITICO story is that it is categorically false and the characterization is offensive,” said a spokesperson for Biden. [NBC News]

Talking to Maureen Dowd is one thing. But she’s the woman who eviscerated Biden during the late ’80s plagiarism scandal that killed his first chance at the presidency and almost his political career. Doing so in a planned effort to use his son Beau in order to curry sympathy and start presidential buzz is another.

But, hey, politicians who eye the presidency never get over it. Anything is possible, including that one of his rivals manipulated this story and dropped it to Politico, because they knew it would go viral. Doing so at the very moment he was about to make his decision on 2016. There was one message and one message only: Don’t run, Joe, because if you do it’s going to be ugly.

Draft Biden is now running an ad to push his decision into running for president.

Biden’s a big boy and he’ll have to convince a lot of Democrats already supporting Hillary, as well as Sanders, that he’s the better person for the job. It won’t be easy and if you believe the Politico story you’ve got to also know that playing on people’s heartstrings will only go so far.

As for me, all I could think when I read the story is who wants to hurt Joe Biden? Then I thought about Maureen Dowd. She’s the only one who really knows.