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. Susan

    Good. Let's all work together for THIS country!

    November 6, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  2. Justin, ny

    This administration has the capability of doing some pretty amazing things. with the right people in place (democrats and republicans who might differ in philosophy, but share the same goals) we could really turn this country around. Obama has proven that he has sound judgement and character – lets hope is cabinet selections show the same thing.

    November 6, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  3. Debby

    OH shut up Biden this isn't the sandbox.

    November 6, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  4. 3strikes

    those two are goin to be making the gravest decisions and the millions that voted for those two clowns are goin to be seriously regretting

    November 6, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  5. Lisa T

    Scott, seek therapy – you really need it!

    November 6, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  6. Bruce

    This is the " reach acrosss the aisle" mentality that is going to be needed. Good for you Joe.
    Joe the VP.....

    November 6, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  7. David

    Biden and McCain are both honorable men and I see Biden, McCain and Obama working together for the betterment of the country. The John McCain of old came out and made a great concession speech. The 'Mac" is back.

    Good Luck to Obama, Biden, McCain, and Palin.

    They all deserve our support and respect.

    May the transition be a smooth one and may this be a government that all people will come to support and love.

    November 6, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  8. szasz

    Fellow republicans I'm a little confused. Is it better to help the democratic captain save the sinking ship or to work against him because he isn't a republican?

    November 6, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  9. lori

    obama was not only a junior u.s. senator, but also a 2 term state senator and he went to harvard law where he was president of the harvard law review, elected by conservatives and liberals alike. palin may have had more 'legislative' experience on her resume as a governor of a very small state (less than the population of the city of detroit) and mayor of a city the size of my thumb where thursday is 'check-writing-day', but she went to 6 different no-admissions-requirements-colleges to get her undergrad degree in a non-relevent major, whereas obama is a brilliant visionary leader. get over it and join in the surge of global support.

    November 6, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  10. mayah

    Intelligent , respectful, and polite gentleman, do what is right sir, a CHANGE as come...

    November 6, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  11. Dixie AZ

    Congratulations, Joe. You will make a great VP. I admired your poise in the VP debate. It must have taken all your will power to keep from tearing Palin apart. She certainly left her neck hanging out and ready for the axe.

    November 6, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  12. The Other Campaign Strategist @ 115th & Amsterdam Ave.

    Joe –

    Great work in helping the team get over the goal line with those in Appalachian and rural areas. They feared our man Hussien for no reason. Now that he's in, they will see how foolish their fears were.

    How would you like to be Secretary of State in 2011? You will be 69 years old then and with a 2nd Obama term, you could leave that office at age 75.

    This would free Obama to run for re-election with the party's standard bearer for the years 2016 to 2024 guaranteeing 16 years of Democratic rule in the office of president.

    Obama could then select a very qualified, moderate-to-conservative woman as his 2nd VP thereby bolstering his re-election and positioning her to be the 1st woman president in 2016.

    Rahme Emmanuel could then be her VP. Joe, we need you to see the big picture here.

    November 6, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  13. Sylvia

    Let by gones be by gones and focus on the future. What is a priortiy now is the new President's agenda. McCain will enjoy his retirement. All is well.

    November 6, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  14. A Woman In California For Obama

    Well, I will say McCain gave a nice concession speech. It's funny that he was annoyed with the boos only on this particular night. Although he was mean spirited and angry throughout the campaign, I do hope because of his service to this country Obama will reach out and give him some type of position. Having said that, I will not miss the following:

    1. Sarah the ignorant governor
    2. Todd the good for nothing husband
    3. Rick the bird faced lobbyist
    4. Joe the plumber
    5. Cindy the drug user; and most of all
    6. Tucker Bounds the prick with the bad hair do

    November 6, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |

    If I were John McCain, I would say.... Joe WHO>>> Sorry I'd don't know you. A man that would stand and say he would be proud to run with John and then turn around so he could get a seat on the Obama team is not a friend. Neither is HIllary. I think alot alot of people you will find later will lose alot respect even for Hillary.

    And Please CNN< ABC MSNBC.

    Leave Sara Palin Alone.. She is not your pawn.

    November 6, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  16. PL

    I wonder if McCain is aware their still friends??? lol

    November 6, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  17. Three Cheers

    Sen. McCain is awesome....

    a soldiers' soldier......

    Sir, your Civility and Dignity at the End was inspiring and re-captured the hero I admired.

    Along with the President-elect, you have my support.

    PS. Laws were broken, men tortured, servants were outed (Plame) , lies were encouraged......dont let them get away with it

    November 6, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  18. Catholic-mom-4-OBAMA


    PLEASE STOP THE HATE********STOP THE LIES**********************


    November 6, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  19. Cindy

    Good ol Joe the Friend.

    John McCain pretty much layed off criticizing Joe Biden during the campaign. Biden did the role of an opposing running mate, and criticized McCain. But he didn't get personal about it. I'm sure McCain understands this. Likewise, I hope the Dems come to an understanding with Joe the Lieberman. He was supporting his friend. Maybe a little bit too much, but... sometimes that's what friends do. Like John McCain, Joe Lieberman is still a good guy.

    November 6, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  20. mmd

    Joe the Vice President get over mccain he has joe the plumber.
    let yesterdays be gone.

    November 6, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  21. gl, Pittsburgh

    I would hop to see Obama work with McCain. I agree the old McCain is back and I am glad.

    November 6, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  22. John

    Biden is still McCain's friend. That's nice, but EVERYBODY is apparently McCain's friend, my friends.

    November 6, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  23. Canadian POV

    Biden and McCain are masters at the campaign game and know very well that what gets said during the race is not necessarily what one person feels about another on a personal level. Clinton made up with Obama and Biden will make up McCain. They are wise men that know that the future requires an end to bitter, divisive, partisanship. Its why Obama won over the negativity of the Republicans. McCain's concession speech was graceful and mostly a plea for unity behind the new president. If he had ran a campaign from such a higher ground, he may not have lost the way he did.

    Palin was the biggest mistake of his political career and the vile, divisiveness that she inspired is what sunk him. The "base" does not represent America and has held an illegitimate grip on the White House for the last eight years. The coalition with the Evangelicals, the De-regulators and War Hawks crumbled and all that was left was a nasty segment of the population that espoused everything that the world has come to fear in the US. Obama and Biden give everyone hope for a brighter future and dare I say, "the real America" to shine again.

    November 6, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  24. GA Independent

    Joe (the REAL Joe) is a good guy – always was, always will be. And he will make a terrific VP. Go Joe, Go!

    I love the bury the axe custom. It might be a good thing for families and friends split by politics this time to do the same!

    November 6, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  25. J.D.

    McCain has an opportunity to go down in history as a transformative political figure and role model himself - if he now chooses to work collaboratively with the Obama Administration in a dramatic way for those issues on which they agree. When Clinton and Bush Sr. work together on disaster relief issues, for example, it sets a tone that we can disagree on some things but agree on others. It would be good for both men, and for the country.

    November 6, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
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