Biden says would have liked to be the US president who ended cancer

AUSTIN, Texas, March 12 (Reuters) - Former Democratic U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said on Sunday in one of his first major speeches since leaving office this year that he would have liked to have been the U.S. president who ended cancer as we know it.

Biden, whose son Beau died from brain cancer in 2015, delivered an emotional speech at the South by Southwest technology summit in Austin, Texas, about continuing the work he led under former Democratic President Barack Obama in the so-called "Cancer Moonshot," an initiative aimed at speeding up research into new cancer therapies.

He spoke of the need for prevention, research collaboration and big data to battle cancer.

Biden did not mention U.S. Republican President Donald Trump by name but said in the speech before several thousand people he was willing to work with the current administration on the fight against cancer, which kills an estimated 600,000 Americans a year.

"The only bipartisan thing left in America is the fight against cancer," he said.

See photos of Joe and Beau Biden:

Beau Biden through the years
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Beau Biden through the years
Attorney General of Delaware and Son of Vice President Joe Biden Beau Biden waves at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 6, 2012 on the final day of the Democratic National Convention (DNC). US President Barack Obama is expected to accept the nomination from the DNC to run for a second term as president. AFP PHOTO Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/GettyImages)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 06: Attorney General of Delaware Beau Biden gestures on stage during the final day of the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena on September 6, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The DNC, which concludes today, nominated U.S. President Barack Obama as the Democratic presidential candidate. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 28: Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden speaks during the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition conference on Spetember 28, 2010 in Washington, DC. The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) is a broad-based influential network of 400 businesses and NGOs and national security and foreign policy experts who support a smart approach of elevating diplomacy and development alongside defense in order to build a safer world. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WILMINGTON, DE - OCTOBER 29: U.S. Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) (L) and Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden talk after campaigning for Delaware Democratic Senate nominee Chris Coons outside the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 475 October 29, 2010 in Newark, Delaware. Coons is polling in double digits ahead of his opponent Republican Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell going into the last four days of campaigning before Tuesday's midterm elections. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Biden said that just before he made his formal announcement in 2015 not to run, Obama asked him if he had any regrets.

Biden said he told Obama: "I would have loved to have been the president who presided over the end of cancer as we know it."

He said in the months that followed his son's death, he did not have the stomach to run for president.

"No one should ever run for president of the United States unless they are prepared to give every, every ounce of their energy," he said.

He praised Republicans for working with Democrats on the fight against cancer while he was in office.

He had one slight dig at the Trump administration by suggesting some "in the new outfit" do not abide by research on global warming.

"I shouldn't have said that but it frustrates me," he said (Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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