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. Independent

    CNN tries too hard to read into things. They should not add lines of speculation like: "but did not seem as eager to make peace with the Arizona senator’s running mate."

    He just met Palin a couple months ago and they didn't really have a lot of dirt thrown at each other. Their VP debate was the most civil debate this election, and after the VP debate both their families stayed on stage mingling with each other for longer than usual.

    What was Joe Biden supposed to say about Palin? What he said is perfectly in line with what anyone would say about someone they they've only known for a couple months.

    November 6, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  2. patriotson

    Of course Joe wants to reach out to the man he spoke so highly of, up until the point Obama tapped him as VP. Biden never believed the ill remakes he made, but like all power-hungry people, they will stab you in the back for a nickel. This campaign cost Obama 5.2 billion. I wonder who he owes favors to now, since this was the most spent in history. I guess we can expect more lobbying than ever over the next four years. These people didn't give money to him for nothing. No one ever does. If you want someone to change Washington, vote for the guy who barely has enough money to buy a commercial. At least we know he owes nobody anything.

    November 6, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  3. QwaseZeb

    McCain's concession speach was Mcain speaking his words. The campaigning was over, and he went back to being himself. I am confident he will not be a sore loser, but will play a part in leading the republicans to unite and build this country. Whatever disdain he showed for Obama on the campaign trail, seemed Tuesday to have been put aside. He is a great American.

    November 6, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  4. Conservative business owner in NY

    I voted for the other guy, and I was starting to make my self feel better about Obama being elected... That is until I read about John Kerry possibly being Secretary of State.... What happened to changing how Washington was run? I guess just dole out appointments based on who was the most loyal and when. I guess we can expect to see windbags Kerry and Powell both in the administration due to their support.

    This isn't a great way to win the hearts of those who didn't vote for you Mr Obama.

    November 6, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  5. Independent Patriot

    For Scott ... It is far more complicated to manage the Harvard Law Review than to get a degree in communications after bumbling around 4-5 different schools also.

    And really more complicated to forge the diverse coalition that spoke in the election the other night.

    Have some faith in talent and conviction and be a patriot. Come on this ride with the rest of us and enjoy America and being American. It won't hurt to have someone thoughtful in the White House, I promise.

    November 6, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  6. Retired USN, Norfolk VA

    Well put Joe, the election is over and now it's time to work together to get this country going

    November 6, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  7. g.robinsuck

    Oh G. Robinson...typical of partisan liberals. Sore winners AND sore losers. Obama would be ashamed of your attitude.

    November 6, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  8. jersey

    wow scott, you really won't let this go. Granted it's barely been 48 hours after the election, but c'mon man. Unity is forming before your eyes. i guess that's not quite good enough...

    November 6, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  9. Joe in NJ

    How come CNN doesn't report on all the gaffes that Biden has made? Despite what you may have heard, Palin had a better handle on what the VP actually does than Biden did even though he's been around a lot longer.

    November 6, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |

    Biden, you are truly the gray-green slimy stuff at the bottom of the stink barrel. You truly are disgusting.I'm so glad obama will make you stay in the basement.

    November 6, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  11. Jim in Miami

    Such blind euphoria by the fan club. This transformational change is nothing more than old, stale big government policies repackaged with slick rhetoric. Too bad the deciding electorial segment is too young to remember and too self-absorbed to study and understand a world of cases studies. Being media darlings doesn't change bad policy – and, in Biden's case, bad instincts.

    November 6, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  12. mr carter

    well put tori... stop the sour loser mentalitty and help move the country forward.. after all, the main goal is country first, right???

    November 6, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  13. Really

    Scott November 6th, 2008 2:42 pm ET
    "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…"

    Well Scott, and yet he managed to run a campaign that blew McCain off the charts. Does that tell you something about his mettle? And he might be a JUNIOR Senator but how many JUNIOR Senators did you see rise up to the level that he did? I guess if you have the talent and the courage to fulfil your dreams, anything is possible! And he did exactly that! And for that he deserves respect from everyone of us Americans!

    And Patriotson, you can definitely expect a lot of lobbying! From the American people that is! Because that is who donated those billions; we were investing in our future and it wasn't in vain! Now, the change has started. Go to his website, you can make your voice heard. Do something for the people rather than being bitter,

    November 6, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  14. Attorney in FL

    yeah right...just like Obama is Hillary's "friend". lol

    She should be the one being sworn into the Presidency. This little boy is a joke.....a big joke with a lot of lofty rhetoric. I can't believed he pulled the wool over my fellow Democrats eyes. Its shameful.

    November 6, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  15. tom

    The Obama supporters can all enjoy winning the election and the success they have obtained – you worked for it and earned it. But – healing and reconciliation will take time. The bitterness of the past ten years will not be healed overnight simply by telling us conservs & repubs that we now want to make nice since we won. There has been way too much negativity thrown at Bush and the Repubs/conservs since 2000 to expect us to simply cross over or readily line up to drink the koolaid. Yes, we will cooperate where we can but we will also oppose you when we disagree with you and think our principles are better. Total and blind allegiance to Obama like those posting here – will not happen. Obama & Biden & your left leaning congress must prove themselves and show their intent of not making the US a model of Europe before the repubs/conservs will begin to trust the opposition and annoit him as the chose one. TIme heals all wounds just as it hopefully will here. Just don't expect immediate results.

    November 6, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  16. Stokie

    Today I asked my eight year old son to name some countries in Africa, he came up with 6. Apparently Sarah Palin believed Africa was a country and asked if South Africa was a region of that country. My eight year old knows more International geography than Sarah Palin.

    I think we should stop bashing Sarah, she is just an opportunist.. Anyone and everyone responsible for picking her as VP should take responsibility. And those that are still promoting her as a future candidate are reckless and incompetent.

    November 6, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  17. Greed is not good

    Some friend...McCain got a fat slice of humble pie. Yes it's over. Maybe Joe can talk some sense into his old friend and work for Obama now.

    November 6, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  18. Matt

    I think Biden speaks for all of us on this one. Whether you agree or disagree with McCain, he provides a necessary counterpoint that helps balance our government. There is NOTHING more American than to dissent, to question, to speak your mind freely when you disagree. Apparently, his own party has forgotten his value in that respect, but we shouldn't.

    November 6, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  19. MW

    I would rather see the United States go down than go Socialist. I will never accept him as president. The 2012 campaign has already started.

    November 6, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  20. J.C.

    If Senator McCain could still work with President Bush after their 2000 campaign fight, I am sure McCain can still be a good friend of Biden.
    He had seen it all and this is nothing.

    November 6, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  21. Matt

    Dear "Attorney in FL":

    The Republicans-pretending-to-be-Democrats who supported HIllary charade is over. It didn't work during the election and it certainly isn't going to work in dampening our spirits, snuffing our hope and generating doubt now.

    Thank you,

    The American People

    November 6, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  22. Marie

    Where's the Nightingale ,JP ,and the Hillary/Now Suppoters Of McCain and Scott why can't you people be human for once in your life.Do you even know what it means to give a person a chance?As OUR future president said in his speech on Tuesday night to those that chosed not to support him that he needs you.McCain conceded with grace and I admire him for that and now you must concede with the hatetred that I have seen in your comments for months.You know in our lives from day to day we all never know what may happen to us that that we may have to ask God to forgive us.So I take this time to say to you that words are nothing unless you mean them and I truly don't think you do mean them because deep down without even knowing you I beleive you are good people.All I ask is that you say to yourself is don't judge Obama until you give him a chance and if he is the person you thought he would be as president then you should have your say.But just put yourself in his place and if it was you that asked the american people to trust you what would you expect us to say to you?Newspapers, the internet and the media have embedded so much in the minds of all of us that we don't know the truth from what's false.But if it's race I don't know if it really makes a difference

    November 6, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  23. stacy

    maybe he will grow some sophistophication since he going to be
    Vice President.

    November 6, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  24. Tony

    All politicians are hypocrites!

    November 6, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  25. Matt

    Too bad for you MW...4 years of campaigning for 2012 isn't going to help you when it's full of Obama bringing our country back in line, especially when you can't rely on a Republican controlled Congress to mess with him every step of the way. The vote is in, the man has been chosen and the mandate has been delivered. Cry it out, purge your tears and stop living in denial so you can move on with a healthier life.

    November 6, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
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