November 6th, 2008
02:05 PM ET
9 years ago

Biden talks transition, says McCain's 'still my friend'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Vice President-elect Biden said Thursday that he has not spoken to Sen. McCain since the election but also said he was still friends with McCain."]
GEORGETOWN, Delaware (CNN) – As he headed back to Delaware to ceremonially “bury the hatchet” Thursday as part of a state tradition, Vice President-elect Joe Biden told reporters that John McCain was “still my friend.”

He also said that he and President-elect Obama had begun meeting daily to “flesh out the transition” – and did not deny speculation that Sen. John Kerry could be under consideration for a position in the new administration.

Last week, Biden had told reporters he was not sure if the friendship could be saved. “I don’t know, I hope [the friendship] is intact, John and I have not had a chance to speak,” Biden said. “I hope [it’s] intact because I still admire him, I still like him. ... I believe when this is over, win or lose, John and I are likely to be around in one form or another, in one job or another, and I hope, my hope is we can work together.”

The Delaware native said he hasn’t spoken to McCain – his friend of over three decades – since the Democratic ticket’s victory. Asked what he’d say to McCain and Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin if they were on hand, Biden seemed to reach out to his Senate colleague, but did not seem as eager to make peace with the Arizona senator’s running mate.

“I’d say John, we’re still friends,” he said, adding “I don’t know Sarah Palin. I’m not being a wiseguy, you know, it’s over. I mean, I think it’s pretty remarkable, for the all the ups and downs, [a] pretty remarkable run for her. I mean, here’s a woman who is out of Wasilla as a mayor and then governor for two years. I think it’s pretty remarkable, pretty remarkable.

“But John’s still my friend. I say, John, I need you. We need you. This is an opportunity. We really mean what we said.... Barack and I met yesterday, and we’ll be meeting every day for a while until we flesh out this cabinet and everybody else. But we really mean it. We’ve got to reach out, man. You can’t get from here to there with just Democrats, you can’t do it. And I, and I’m…well anyway, when I talk to John, that is, that’s my, that’s what I’m going to tell him.”

Biden returned to Delaware on Thursday to participate in the state’s tradition of Returns Day, the Thursday after Election Day when state party officials literally bury a hatchet while the winning and losing candidates ride in carriages together in a parade.

On the flight from Chicago, he regaled a small group of reporters with stories about the day and discussed the transition.

“There’s a sense of excitement about it because yesterday we really did, five of us in a room, seven of us in a room, really actually beginning to put together a government,” said Biden, who said he and Obama planned to meet every day. “We’ve thought a lot about it but it was the first time - he’s as superstitious as I was - and the first time we actually started talking about names and places and organizations and it’s…there’s a sense of we both know it’s going to be a very difficult road.

“...I think the world is looking to us - not Barack and me - looking to America in the same way the public’s looking to us. They sense there’s a need for immediate help, immediate help for people drowning,” said Biden. “Not a new form of our government but a new international architecture.

“We need some really good thinking and what I’m excited about is there’s an awful lot of talented people out there, an awful lot of talented people who are ready, who are thinking this way,” he added. “Thinking around the curve rather than just beginning to try to catch up.”

Asked if Sen. John Kerry - whose name has been floated for Secretary of State - is one of those people, Biden agreed but didn’t reveal anything more. “Senator Kerry’s one of those guys, sure.”

Filed under: Joe Biden • John McCain • Sarah Palin • Transition 2008
soundoff (112 Responses)
  1. gt


    November 6, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  2. Independent_me

    Joe Biden was much kinder to John McCain than McCain was to Joe during this election.

    November 6, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  3. Greg M.

    O.K. President Obama let's get busy. The world is has witnessed the victory of positive change. Lets go in history as the best Presidents ever. Take your time and fix what the republicans have messed up. We will all help, just keep being visible and keep talking to us on the Micheal Basinden show. We are inviting you and your family to Baton Rouge, La. and the Biden family.

    Obama 08'..............................................................................

    November 6, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  4. Scott

    As if it is not remarkable that a first term JUNIOR Senator who never even served out his full term was elected President. Running a state is far more complicated than being a junior Senator who was not around long before running for President...

    November 6, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  5. Gia in Los Angeles, CA

    This is an administration that can unite the parties and the country. We've already had way too much division and animosity. It's time for peace - within this country and between this country and others.

    November 6, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  6. KJL

    Senator Biden knows the race would have been closer, and might have ended differently, without Sarah Palin.

    November 6, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  7. Hilary

    Hopefully McCain will take the loss like a man and not hold a grudge.

    November 6, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  8. cat

    Let mcCain be McCain ..He get over it...

    November 6, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  9. Nana5

    Joe, you have got to be kidding. With "friends" like you who would need an enemy????? You are still the pathetic blabber-mouth you started out to be. Don't try to be "buddy-buddy" now after all the nasty hateful vile things you had to say about McCain. Or did you forget these things were actually recorded and on national television. Best thing you can do is just shut up because everytime you open your mouth something stupid comes out.

    God help us. You who voted for them just don't get it at all.

    November 6, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  10. Denise Bolin

    Obama/Biden took the high road and continue to do so. Let McCain heal a little and I'm sure he'll be back stronger than ever. It will be nice to see the old John McCain again – it'll also be fabulous not to see Sarah Palin again.

    November 6, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  11. renard

    When I was a kid we used to fight each other and afterwards we could be friends, it was funny because our parents would be there making sure it was a fair fight. It's to bad that today after a political contest people cant be friends I think it is very silly and childish.

    November 6, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  12. ANGIE

    Stop Hating on John Mccain, Yes he did some wrong things and used Poor Judgement. But he served our Country and he still is a US Senator please show Senator Mccain Respect THE CAMPAIGNS ARE OVER!

    November 6, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  13. Simmy

    tBeware of wolves in sheep's clothing! Out the heart the mouth speaks! You can forgive a person yet move on.

    November 6, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  14. GOP Lost

    As soon as Mc Cain is able to distance himself from this Palin lady the sooner he can repair his tattered reputation.

    November 6, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  15. Kris in Denver

    I'd love to see Delaware's Return Day happen everywhere, maybe even go national. The 'bury the hatchet' symbolism is awesome.

    Joe, I hope McCain can recover and become the 'old' McCain again, and that your friendship can be salvaged. I wouldn't have the strength to try, after what happened during the campaign. You're a better person than I for being willing to try.

    November 6, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  16. Patrick

    Please if you really are about unity do not select John Kerry for Sec. of state, he is not a uniter. If they were true to their word they would have Sen. McCain in their cabinet at some position.

    November 6, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  17. SoHappyInOregon

    Biden rocks!I love his CrestWhite smile! Palin needs to go home.

    November 6, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  18. mike

    He may run his mouth off at times but Biden is a good man and he means what he says-he just says too much of it.

    November 6, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  19. Dawn

    Political races can take a toll on any kind of friendship, especially if you had worked together for a long time.

    During his stump he had made a gaff and said John Maclaine. (He must had been watching the Die Hard movies) and then he said I don't really know him anymore.

    VP elected Joe Biden comes from traditional Coal Region beliefs, value your friendships..

    keep our country safe;

    November 6, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  20. democrats /PA

    why wouldnt they be ? they are to of a kind
    both old and spend spend spend
    it will break this country

    November 6, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  21. Ken in NC

    You go Joe. Way to go. THE HEALING HAS BEGUN.

    November 6, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  22. Joe

    After all the lies and insults Joe Biden cast at John McCain and Sarah Palin, I hope, my hope, um, uh, (bides an idiot) is that when they meet, John McCain punches him right in the mouth and says "now say it to my face you spineless little worm"!

    November 6, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  23. Wally©

    Joe the Biden...

    The gift that's reaching out to an 'old and true' friend...

    What a great guy !!!

    November 6, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  24. G. Robinson

    I don't believe McLoser is saying the same thing.

    YES WE DID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 6, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  25. Jim

    Oh Scott November 6th, 2008 2:42 pm ET,

    You're so cute. Keep fighting the fight.

    November 6, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
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