The story behind our Joe Biden cover

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From Editor in Chief Sam Jacobs
Meeting Joe Biden
By Sam Jacobs
Editor in Chief

Last week, I visited the White House with Washington Bureau Chief Massimo Calabresi to interview President Joseph Biden. We were there to speak with Biden about the U.S.'s role in the world. No President in a generation has entered the job with more foreign policy experience than Biden. Yet his first 3½ years in office have shown the limits of American leadership along with its strengths, dominated as they have been by crises in Afghanistan, Ukraine, Gaza, and Israel, as well as rising tensions in Asia.

So much of the Biden campaign has revolved around the threat Donald Trump would present to the world if he wins. 

We've heard less so far from Biden about what he believes it would mean for the world if he wins. "To finish what I started in the first term," Biden told us from his seat just off of the Oval Office. For that vision to be realized, Biden has to first win in November. 

Calabresi, who has reported across the capital and around the world for TIME since 1993, captures the stakes of this moment in this week's cover story. Calabresi's reporting is accompanied by portraits taken by Philip Montgomery—the first time Biden has sat for an outside photographer in the Oval Office during his presidency. It was Montgomery's picture of Biden being sworn in at his inauguration , in front of a sea of masked faces, that ran on TIME's cover in 2021. And his portraits of Donald Trump accompanied our recent profile of the former President.

This interview is the third Biden has given to TIME since he announced his candidacy for President in 2019. The first happened in the run-up to the Iowa caucuses, before the COVID-19 shutdown. The second, for Person of the Year in 2020, followed the campaign's conclusion under the intense health protocols that dominated that election. 

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