October 20th, 2009
09:33 AM ET
10 years ago

Biden says he first said no to being VP

Biden told a Pennsylvania crowd he only said yes to being vice president months after it was first offered.

Biden told a Pennsylvania crowd he only said yes to being vice president months after it was first offered.

(CNN) - It was an oft-repeated anecdote on the 2008 campaign trail: then-Sen. Joe Biden accepted the request to be the No. 2 on the Democratic presidential ticket at a Delaware dentist office as his wife was undergoing a root canal.

Less discussed however was how Biden first said no to the post when then-Sen. Obama raised the subject months before the final announcement was made.

"I initially said no, that I wasn't interested," Biden told a Pennsylvania crowd Monday night at the annual Allegheny County Democratic Committee dinner. "He asked me to think about it."

Biden said he finally accepted the job "a couple months later" not in a dentist office but in a hotel room in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The vice president said he asked the then-Democratic presidential nominee, "Are you really committed to changing the course of this county?"

"He reached out, shook my hand, and said 'I am,'" Biden said.

Of course, according to Biden's wife Jill, the vice president actually had a choice between the No. 2 post and being the Secretary of State.

During an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show last January, Mrs. Biden accidentally let slip that piece of information - though the vice president's office later took issue with that contention.

"To be clear, President-elect Obama offered Vice President-elect Biden one job only – to be his running mate," Elizabeth Alexander, a spokeswoman for Biden, said then. "And the vice president-elect was thrilled to accept the offer."

Filed under: Joe Biden • Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. Mark from Louisiana

    Does anyone really give a hoot what Joe Biden says?

    October 20, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  2. Karen

    Why didn't he stick with his first answer????????

    October 20, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  3. Dar

    Odumbo could have picked a monkey for vice president and all of you cool aid sippers would have still voted for him. For the most part, most of the people voting for Odumbo didnt even know Biden was on the ticket. What a joke.

    October 20, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  4. buckwheat

    If you believe this I got some bank stock I need to sell at pre Obama prices.

    October 20, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  5. Jayden,FL

    Although I think Biden is doing a Good Job as Vice President.. I believe Clinton would have been a far better VP pick.

    October 20, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  6. Enough

    Change the course of this country.............too bad voters didn't realize that change meant the bankrupting of America and that Obama was going to be the WORST president ever.

    October 20, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  7. Jeremiah

    So inspiring......I almost shed a tear. Now we have two fools running the nation instead of one.....it's beautiful.......and to think, we just got rid of Bush, just for another guy that leaves our troops in countries we shouldn't be in. Go figure.

    October 20, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  8. Kathy

    I love Joe Biden, he is the perfect Vice-President. We are lucky to have him.

    October 20, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  9. Candy Wilson

    And I am glad he did.. It is one reason I voted Dem.. this yr.. In fact, with the 2 of them I became a campaigner....And the Perk was I got to sit 4 rows back when Sen. Biden spoke at OUE in St. C. Ohio. I am also a huge fan of Mrs.. Biden and a huge fan of education

    October 20, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  10. PK

    Why would you believe anything that comes out of this guy's mouth?

    October 20, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  11. Magnanimous

    Bidens loves to talk about himself like an off-the-cuff gaffe machine gone wild. No wonder Biden doesn't have time to promote Obama's agenda in Congress and with the public.

    October 20, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  12. Dallas

    Go Joe you are a great man we are proud. So stand tall

    October 20, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  13. Jenn, Philadelphia

    Joe Biden hasn't heard a story he's liked better than the ones he makes up.

    October 20, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  14. Jerry

    Biden can not even get his own life straight, never mind remember what he said. The change you voted for America, Twelve trillion in debt and no hope in sight

    October 20, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  15. D. Tree

    Biden was a great decision. Its shows true leadership to bring in one's former opponents like Biden and Clinton.

    The critics can whine all the want, but the fact remains Obama has one of the most diverse and bi-partisan cabinets in recent history.

    October 20, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  16. slp

    You should have stuck to your original decision and talked President Obama out of running for president.

    October 20, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  17. diridi

    VP Joe, nation is going in right direction...we love you...don't repent....Bush Broke this nation with Iraq war into pieces financially...not pres. obama...ok

    October 20, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
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