The Washington Times - June 3, 2013, 04:39PM

During a discussion of mental illness and the human brain at the White House Monday, Vice President Joseph R. Biden wandered off into a tale of his first brain operation, in 1988 for a leaking aneurysm.

Mr. Biden told attendees at a conference that he was being wheeled into an operating room when he asked the neurosurgeon about his chances.

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“He said, ‘Senator, for mortality or morbidity?’” Mr. Biden recalled. “I said, ‘What are my chances of getting off this table and being completely normal?’ He said, ‘Well, your chances of living are a lot better.’”

According to Mr. Biden, he then asked the surgeon, “What’s the most likely thing that’ll happen if I live?”

“He said, ‘Well, the side of the brain that the first aneurysm was on controls your ability to speak,’” Mr. Biden recalled. “Then I go, ‘Why in hell didn’t they tell me this before the ‘88 campaign?’ Could have saved us all a lot of trouble, you know what I mean?”

As a senator from Delaware, Mr. Biden ran for the Democratic presidential nomination for the 1988 election but withdrew from the race in September 1987.