Joe Biden knows how to tell a story. In New Hampshire, the Democratic presidential candidate recently offered a moving tale of tragedy, heroism, and honor. When Biden was vice president, goes the story, he went to Afghanistan to decorate a Navy captain who had rappelled down a deep ravine, while taking enemy fire, to retrieve the body of another American soldier. The captain movingly tried to refuse the medal because his fellow soldier had died.

In the story’s telling, Biden relayed some of his own heroics. When some in the vice president’s circle had expressed concern about Biden’s going to Afghanistan, he says that he waived them off stoically. “We can lose a vice president,” he said. “We can’t lose many more of these kids. Not a joke.”

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