Sunday, October 5

Biden on Biden

Post-debate, Newsweek got some info:
He was happy with the St. Louis debate, of course, and trying to be gracious: "I liked her [Sarah Palin]. When our families met, it was congenial, with none of the tension that's sometimes in the air." But he doesn't think the event was terribly relevant. "The real issue is John and Barack."

About that catch in his throat: in the moment, he "could picture Beau in the bed" after the 1972 car accident that killed Biden's first wife, Neilia, and their baby girl and critically injured his young sons. Now Beau, the 39-year-old attorney general of Delaware, was off to war, a judge advocate general traveling to obscure regions of Iraq, where the road isn't exactly the safest place to be. The memory of being a single parent mixed with worries about Beau to create "a lot of bundled emotions. It surprised me. I was hoping nobody noticed." Only 70 million or so did.

Biden compares running for vice president to being a "cicada," in which the only time you surface publicly (if you're not Sarah Palin) is when chosen, at the debate and if you win.
At a secret meeting in mid-August at the Graves 601 Hotel in St. Paul, Minn., that lasted two to three hours, Obama told him it wouldn't work unless Biden viewed the vice presidency as "the capstone" of his career, not a step down. "Not the tombstone?" Biden joked.

"Will this job be too small for you?" Obama asked, with a deft appreciation of the art of flattery.

"I said no, as long as I would really be a confidant. I told him, 'The good news is, I'm 65 and you're not going to have to worry about my positioning myself to be president. The bad news is, I want to be part of the deal'."

Biden, who had stayed neutral in the Democratic primaries after dropping out in January, told Obama that he was "ready to be second fiddle" and sought no specific portfolio—but only if he got a guaranteed hourlong, one-on-one session with the president every week (like Al Gore's lunches with Bill Clinton, and George H.W. Bush's with Ronald Reagan) and a presence at all important meetings. Obama said yes, that he wanted him for his judgment and for his help in enacting a big legislative agenda. And so the job was defined: "My role will be to say, 'Boss, here's the way I'd go about it'."

Biden says Obama reminds him of Bill Clinton in his "confidence, cognitive ability, judgment" and intellectual security—that he can listen and absorb advice without having to prove he's the smartest person in the room, a critical leadership skill."
The man continues to grow on me. Can you think of any good qualities for the Vice Presidency which Biden lacks?

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