Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose

“You find out that your son, Beau, has been diagnosed with a particularly virulent form of cancer, along with everything else on your shoulders. How did you do it?” asks veteran columnist Mike Barnicle of former Vice President Joe Biden as the two discuss how Biden waged a war on cancer while weighing his own ambition and managing his day job during an exclusive conversation on the audiobook version of Biden’s new book “Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose” published this week by Audible. Listen to Biden’s response and download the entire audio book and Barnicle’s interview that contextualizes the memoir’s wide-ranging themes, including the presidential election, current events, and overcoming profound grief here:

Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose

For The Daily Beast: The Boston Neighbor...

“Many have asked and wondered how or why such an exceptional guy like General Kelly would take the task of trying to turn the absurdly incompetent, chaotic Trump presidency into a functioning vehicle. And the answer is simple and obvious: Because he loves this country and does not want to have it fail or falter at the gate of a future filled with both promise and peril. His only ambitions are for America,” writes veteran columnist Mike Barnicle for The Daily Beast. Read Barnicle’s column here and learn more about the new White House Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly — details of his Boston childhood and some of the factors that helped shape his fine character and values.

The Boston Neighborhood That Made John Kelly

Pete Frates

“I am deeply sorry that I tweeted erroneous information this morning about Pete Frates — information that was provided by a family friend. I thank God that it was wrong. Pete is currently resting comfortably in the hospital here in Boston. He is a hero among us who needs our prayers and support more now than ever.” – Mike Barnicle

Lincoln residents to be honored at Bosto...

Journalist and MSNBC commentator Mike Barnicle and his wife Anne Finucane, Bank of America Vice Chairman, will be honored by Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP) with its 8th annual Tim Russert Award at the Medicine That Matters Gala on Monday, May 15, at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel.

BHCHP President Jim O’Connell, MD, said in announcing the award: “Anne and Mike have both reached the pinnacle of their professions, yet always maintained a deep commitment to those in need. At Bank of America, Anne has focused on strengthening communities through investment and at the same time supporting nonprofits like BHCHP. And for decades, Mike has given voice to people who struggle with all of life’s challenges, particularly poverty and the disease of addiction. Tim Russert was a close friend of theirs and I imagine he is very proud to see them honored with this award.”

Founded in 1985, BHCHP has evolved into the largest and most comprehensive health care for the homeless program in the country, delivering services to more than 11,000 homeless men, women and children a year at more than 60 shelters and sites. For more information, visit

Lincoln residents to be honored at Boston gala

For The Daily Beast: A Marine, Gone But ...

In his latest column for The Daily Beast, veteran journalist Mike Barnicle tells the story of Harry K. Tye, a U.S. Marine finally buried this week at Arlington National Cemetery after he was killed in a war – 74 years ago.

“On the night that Pfc. Harry Tye was buried, the President of the United States gathered more than a few Senators and their spouses at The White House for a reception. He was gracious and brief in his welcome and told them, in part: ‘We are doing really well in Iraq. Our soldiers are fighting and fighting like never before and the results are very good so I just wanted to let everyone know. …Our soldiers are fighting and fighting like never before…’

History is now a casualty too….” Read Barnicle’s whole column here.

A Marine, Gone But Not Forgotten, Laid To Rest After 74 Years

For The Daily Beast: Jimmy Breslin, the ...

In his latest column for The Daily Beast, Mike Barnicle pays tribute to legendary New York City columnist Jimmy Breslin, who died Friday at the age of 88. “He stood for the vulnerable and used the voice contained in his talent to call out the political people and anyone else who abused or ignored the poor, the disenfranchised, anyone living on life’s margins and judged by their zip code, their needs or their lack of income.” Read the column in its entirety here.

Jimmy Breslin, the People’s Champion

How I Got Here

The latest episode of How I Got Here features award-winning journalist and Morning Joe regular Mike Barnicle talking to the show’s creators, his son Tim Barnicle and Harry Hill, sharing stories from his youth in Fitchburg to his days in Washington D.C., his years as a celebrated newspaper columnist for The Boston Globe and much more. Hear Mike’s inspiring interview, as well as fascinating interviews with Tom Brokaw, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Ken Burns and Maria Shriver on PodcastOne.

How I Got Here

For the Daily Beast: The Dead Patriots a...

In his latest column for The Daily Beast, Mike Barnicle paints a haunting picture of the harsh, cold reality of war for fallen soldiers and their families – buried in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery — to heed a message to President Donald Trump about the significance and responsibility that now rests upon his shoulders as he fulfills the role of Commander-in-Chief. “Donald J. Trump will take the oath of office and become the 45th president of the United States. Then, for the first time, he might well realize that his most important obligation is to be aware of the fact that only he can add to the names carved on war memorials and cemetery headstones because he now carries the burden, the weight and responsibility of being commander in chief. That is his duty, to honor the dead by never forgetting their sacrifice or the failed politics that sent them to die.” Read the entire column here.

The Dead Patriots and the Commander in Chief

For The Daily Beast: Joe Biden—the Close...

In his latest column for The Daily Beast, Morning Joe veteran columnist Mike Barnicle writes about his experience as he accompanied Vice President Joe Biden to a rally in Biden’s home state of Pennsylvania. “He is a joyful, hands-on, shoulder-punching, hugging, smiling guy whose idea of a great day is a crowd, an event, a few laughs, and the certitude that his day will end at evening with his family by his side,” writes Barnicle of Biden. Using the analogy of baseball, he describes Biden’s profound speech to the Pennsylvania crowd at the rally. “On the stage, needing no notes, the thoughts filling the hall with a sense of optimism about the future and a ton of scorn for the scorched-earth landscape of the present political campaign, Joe Biden was the closer, coming out of the bullpen throwing fastballs at a time when the public has turned in disgust from spitballs or curves.” Read the whole column here.

Joe Biden—the Closer—Is on the Mound in Pennsylvania

For the Daily Beast: Take This Quiz Befo...

In his latest column for The Daily Beast, MSNBC senior columnist Mike Barnicle asks readers to take a look at the attributes they would want to see in the next president — before they cast their vote. “I don’t want anyone rushing into the polling booth without thinking about the choice,” writes Barnicle. He provides a list of characteristics to contemplate in selecting our next president: competence, courage, an ability to listen and take advice, humility, honesty, patience, and empathy. “Donald J. Trump is without empathy. He proves it over and over each and every day. He has no understanding, no grasp of something that binds almost all of us together: a sense of what it’s like to suffer a loss.” Read the whole column here.

Take This Quiz Before You Vote

For The Daily Beast: I Asked Gary Johnso...

With all the press and social media coverage that followed Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson not being able to answer Mike Barnicle’s question on Morning Joe about Aleppo, Mike weighs in on the deeper meaning of the question, putting it into context, and explaining its overarching significance for all the presidential candidates as well as for each and every one of us. Read his latest column for The Daily Beast here.

I Asked Gary Johnson About Aleppo. I Don’t Blame Him For Not Knowing

For The Daily Beast: John Timoney: A Pol...

In his latest column for The Daily Beast, Mike Barnicle writes about the extraordinary life of his friend and top cop John Timoney, an Irish immigrant who curbed crime as Chief of the New York Police Department, Philadelphia Police Commissioner and most recently Miami Police Department Chief. Barnicle juxtaposes Timoney’s life and life’s work with that of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, writing: “John Timoney was a sentinel of the city. And his life, his accomplishments and his very demeanor stand as a vivid antidote to the toxic behavior of another man from New York City who manages to incite a fear of the future by constantly hinting or even claiming that America is being stolen by some who do not belong here or rigged by some others in political power.” Read the rest of the column here on Timoney, who passed away earlier this month in Miami.

John Timoney: A Policeman, Hero & Everything Donald Trump Is Not

For The Daily Beast: Does Donald Trump H...

In his latest column for The Daily Beast, Mike writes about Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump’s attack on the family of Army Captain Humayun Khan, killed in Iraq in 2004 at the age of 27. Mike writes: “Here in the middle of an American summer one of the candidates to become Commander in Chief has proven with words and tweets that he is without the grace, the humility, the compassion or the simple comprehension of what it’s like for a mother and a father to lose a child in service of the nation. Donald J. Trump often speaks and tweets without thought but this week he spoke and tweeted without a heart.”

Does Donald Trump Have a Heart? Find out here.

Does Donald Trump Have a Heart?

For The Daily Beast: Donald Trump to Ame...

In his latest column for The Daily Beast, Mike Barnicle writes of Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump: “He is a Hall of Fame salesman, always pushing the perfect product, the only item that exists in his mind: himself. He views himself as the answer to everything that ails or angers us. Any ill at all, he tells us, will be dealt with and taken care of by mid-afternoon on January 20, 2017 if only we will be smart enough to make him president.”

Donald Trump to America: Be Afraid, Very Afraid. And Then Vote For Me.

For The Daily Beast: In Dallas, Our Pres...

In his latest column for The Daily Beast, Mike highlights President Obama’s moving speech in Dallas “because of gunshots in the night, gunshots fired by a racist, gunshots that killed five police officers and broke another piece of a nation’s troubled heart.

“If you heard him, watched him, listened – really listened – you heard a man, the President of the United States, who spoke to what is best in us and what will save us from the calamity of racial and class division. He is the only president we have and on one American afternoon in July 2016 he was the one we so badly need,” writes Mike.

In Dallas, Our President Meets the Moment

For The Daily Beast: The Real Reason We ...

In his latest column for The Daily Beast, Mike Barnicle weighs in on the amazing life of the late, great Muhammad Ali and fondly recalls one day 36 years ago, when he spent a day with The Greatest Of All Time. “Muhammad Ali is dead. Who he was and is, a complete man in full, complicated, courageous, charming, multi-dimensional, remains quite alive.” Read the entire column here: “The Real Reason We Will Miss Muhammad Ali”

The Real Reason We Will Miss Muhammad Ali






Jun 9, 1980

Ali had a cold. It had kept him up most of the night and now, just past 7 on Saturday morning, he was sitting in the kitchen of his friend, George Butler, in Marblehead, holding a bottle of pills in the palm of his hand. “One every 12 hours,” he mumbled. “Think I can remember that?” “Want some orange juice, Muhammad?” Butler asked.

“Yeah, orange juice,” Ali answered. “And some ice. Got some ice?”

Ali poured the orange juice over the ice cubes. He placed the pill in his mouth and swallowed after the first sip of the drink. Time and things like common colds are now his enemy.

He is 38, this phenomenon of our age. He is, perhaps, the most famous, the most easily recognizable figure in the world. His name – Ali – summons a hundred different emotions whenever and wherever it is mentioned. Three different times he has been heavyweight champion of the world. But he has been much more.

“I don’t have no boss,” Ali was saying. “I don’t have to call no one. I’m a free agent. I do what I wanna do. And my purpose is to teach; to be the first black man that got big. And I’m the biggest thing on earth. I know that. And I’m free.

“When I went to Russia, I went in to see Brezhnev and he got up from his desk and came over and put his arms around me. He says, I been waitin’ to meet you for a long time. All the Russian people know you. And the next day, when I went back to see him, he had his grandchildren there and he says, They know you too.”‘

Ali has marched through history with a grace that knows no time and a style that has conceded nothing to the events around him. He threw away his Olympic gold medal. He changed his name when he found religion. He refused to be drafted during the war in Vietnam. And he kept on fighting and talking; talking and fighting. He has spent 187 nights ducking quick lefts and right hands full of thunder to either defend or get the championship of heavyweights. Now, there are some who say that all of this has taken its toll and Ali suffers from brain damage.

“Could be,” he said, when asked about a doctor’s theory. “Anytime you get knocked out, even for a few seconds, there’s probably brain damage.

“But all that talk’s just people tryin’ to discredit me. Tryin’ to make people think I’m off so they don’t listen to me. But I know that God has got me here for something special. When I was in Russia, I realized there was something divine about my life. A black man in Russia. Imagine that.”

He checked his watch and saw it was almost eight in the morning. Later in the day, Harvard was going to honor him by making Ali an honorary member of the Class of l975. The school had only done that once before, in l930, for Walter Lippmann. “Make sure they mention that,” Ali said.

“Who’s the greatest man you ever met?” Ali was asked as he played with a cup of tea.

“Elijah Muhammad,” he said right away. “He took a whole nation and made them people. People who used to call themselves Negroes, he changed them to callin’ themselves black.

“Why were we called negroes? Is there a country called negro? Chinese, they come from China. Cubans called Cubans cause they come from Cuba. Germans from Germany. French from France. What country’s called Negro. He made us proud. He taught us.

“A black cup of coffee is a strong cup. Black earth is rich earth. Allah made me a world wonder. Allah made me millions. I gave up a lot too. I gave up my title. I fought against the white man’s war in Vietnam. I did this by myself and I was right.

“You say, Anything scare you, Ali?’ What could scare me? I had my jaw broken in a ring. Look at this,” he said, holding up his fist. “You know what would happen to your head if I hit you with this? Vietnam. Gettin’ drafted. Scared of what? What could scare me after all the things I done. Only thing I’m scared of is Allah and his punishment. I’m a spiritual man.

“Superstar don’t mean shit to me. I don’t care about discos. No stuff like that. God made this planet and he created a fighter for God. That’s me.

“And I do what I wanna do. No one could talk like this. That’s my purpose, to talk and to teach. Sure, I played the fool sometimes and they paid me millions to do it.”

Over in the corner of Butler’s kitchen, Howard Bingham, a close friend of Ali and Abdul Rahman, who travels with the champion, had gotten up from the table. Ali’s wife, Veronica, had come downstairs just as three students from Harvard arrived at the house to escort the man into Cambridge.

One of the students was named George Jackson. Jackson grew up in Harlem around Lenox Avenue. His father changes tires and his mother works at the Amsterdam News and the son, being smart and very good at football, just graduated from Harvard on Thursday.

“What’s your name?” Ali asked George Jackson. “George Jackson,” the champion was told.

“Why don’t you use your real name,” Ali wanted to know. “Get a book of history and pick out your pretty name, your name that means something. Now I’m not talkin’ racism. I’m talkin’ truth.”

“Maybe I will,” Jackson said.

“You went to Harvard huh?” Ali wanted to know. “That’s right,” Jackson answered.

“Well you not as dumb as you look then. That’s real good. You gonna make something of yourself. But you oughta use your real name. I bet all your life people was tellin’ you you’d never be nothing.”

“My whole life,” George Jackson said. “Until Thursday.”

“That’s good brother,” said Muhammad Ali. “That’s real good.”

For The Daily Beast: America Is Still a ...

On this Memorial Day, Mike Barnicle’s latest column for The Daily Beast suggests cutting through the toxicity clogging our collective culture to remember those who died giving back to our country, including his own uncle – the one he never knew – Lt. Gerald J. Barnicle: “Killed in action… Battle of Midway… Awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.” Barnicle writes: “When you look away from the daily dump of false promises, fake empathy and foolish rhetoric of Trump and Clinton, when you put your phone down and stop staring at the screen, when you pause—actually take the time—to stop, think and remember who we are, still, and have been, always, you cannot help feel a slight sense of optimism as well as an obligation to those who flew off over the Pacific, landed on Okinawa or Omaha Beach, walked out of the Chosin Reservoir, hunkered down at Khe Sanh and Hue City, went door to door in Fallujah or encountered life and death in Helmand Province. We remain the greatest beacon of hope and freedom of expression the world has ever known.”

America Is Still a Gift to the World

For The Daily Beast: The Timeless Beauty...

In his latest column for the Daily Beast, Mike Barnicle celebrates Major League Baseball’s opening day and reflects upon the enduring allure of the sport. “That’s one of the great gifts of this, the greatest of all games, baseball: it allows you, still, to lose yourself in a dream, to feel and remember a season of life when summer never seemed to die and the assault of cynicism hadn’t begun to batter optimism. Baseball is a game that shouts ‘Slow Down’ to America. Stop tweeting, texting, blogging, watching cable news, and obsessing about polls, lost planes, and focus group-driven politicians. Baseball is the perfect antidote to one of the particular cultural poisons of the age,” writes Mike. Read Mike’s column on the parallels between the game of baseball and life itself—and then go find your glove! You can also read and watch Mike’s baseball commentary over the years at

The Timeless Beauty of Baseball

For The Daily Beast: What Bobby Kennedy ...

In his latest column for The Daily Beast, Mike Barnicle resurrects a prescient message delivered by Bobby Kennedy to an angry America in 1968 — one that serves as a much needed distinction and reminder of what true leadership and greatness really mean in a time of increasing violent tensions, currently at campaign rallies for Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump.

“The weekend’s eruptions were nothing new,” writes Mike. “The flame has been simmering for months, the low fire burning beneath the surface as the candidate arrives with an arsonist’s vocabulary… He focuses on the weakest elements of human nature: envy, anxiety and apprehension of what might happen.”

In contrast, then candidate Robert Kennedy, just hours after Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, reminded America that “too often we honor swagger and bluster and the wielders of force and too often we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of others.” Read Mike’s column here and find meaning in the words of RFK.

What Bobby Kennedy Would Say To Trump