DENVER (CNN) – Joe Biden’s run for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination is well documented, but one intriguing story remained secret for 13 years: the office where he plotted campaign strategy was bugged.
Biden confirmed to me in a 2002 interview with Roll Call that a listening device was discovered in his Capitol Hill office in 1989 and it could have been placed during his presidential campaign.
"We couldn't understand how certain things and certain information and rumors and all this stuff about me, the plagiarizing and that stuff" made its way outside the room, Biden said. "We couldn't understand how the hell people knew some of this stuff."
At the time I was a reporter for the Capitol Hill newspaper, and learned about the bug from then-Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, who recalled finding it soon after he was elected to the Senate. Biden was moving out of the office and Lott was moving in. A security sweep discovered the listening device in a conference room.
Lott told me in the story, published on March 18, 2002, that upon learning about the bug he told Biden about it. It was unclear how long the listening device had been there, but it was no longer working, Lott said.
While Biden wouldn’t “speculate” who might have put it there he noted that he “was the only one to use" the conference room.
"I was the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, but I was running for president of the United States," said Biden, who was also overseeing the hearings of Judge Robert Bork’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
Biden was a serious contender for the 1988 Democratic nomination until news broke that he took parts of a speech originally delivered by British politician Neil Kinnock, and did not credit him. Biden left the race in September 1987.
The Delaware senator sought his party’s 2008 presidential nomination, but bowed out after a disappointing showing in the Iowa caucuses. Early Saturday morning, after CNN first broke the story, Barack Obama sent a text message out to supporters officially announcing that Biden would be his running mate.