[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/12/21/art.cheney.dick.gi.jpg caption="Vice President Dick Cheney said he isn't sorry for calling a senator the f-word."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday that Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, deserved it when Cheney launched the f-word at him in 2004.
In an interview with "Fox News Sunday," Cheney was asked if he had any second thoughts or embarrassment. "No. I thought he merited it at the time," Cheney said, laughing.
The incident occurred in June 2004 when both Cheney and Leahy were on the Senate floor.
Sources who related the incident to CNN at the time said the vice president had told Leahy to either "f- off" or "go f- yourself."
The encounter during the 2004 presidential campaign, sources said then, was brought on by Leahy's criticism of the vice president over Halliburton Co. Cheney is the former chief executive officer of the oil field services company, and Democrats had suggested he helped win lucrative contracts for his former firm while serving in the Bush administration.
"It was partly that, it was partly also ... it had to do with - he is the kind of individual who will make those kinds of charges and then come act as though he's your best friend, and I expressed in no uncertain terms my views of his conduct and walked away," Cheney said at the time.
But as the old saying goes, time heals all wounds ... well, sort of.
"And we've since, I think, patched over that wound and we're civil to one another now," Cheney said this Sunday.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/12/19/minnesota.senate.race/art.coleman.franken.gi.jpg caption="Republican Sen. Norm Coleman, left, and Democrat Al Franken have swapped leads in Minnesota's Senate race."]
(CNN) - With somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 ballots left to be processed, the recount in Minnesota's U.S. Senate race will resume this week and likely will not be resolved until the end of the month, Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie said Sunday.
A unofficial running tally on the Minneapolis Star Tribune's Web site had Democrat Al Franken leading incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman by 251 votes
on Sunday - in a race in which nearly 2.5 million votes were cast - but Ritchie cautioned against pronouncing either candidate ahead until all votes are counted.
"From the first night of the election - election night, November 4 - it has been impossible to say which candidate was leading because it is not known
who's leading until all the ballots are counted," Ritchie said in an interview with CNNRadio.
"The many people who have been making pronouncements about who's ahead and who's behind are not speaking from a knowledge base. They are speculating."
Ritchie said the state canvassing board has completed the vast majority of the main work in the first round of the recount and board members will meet
Tuesday to finalize vote totals. That will leave between 1,000 and 2,000 wrongly rejected absentee ballots and about 150 overseas ballots left to be processed, he said.
"We had 99.97 percent agreement in the first round, that's with the candidates and the local election officials," Ritchie said.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/12/21/art.bidenlook.gi.jpg caption="Vice President-elect Joe Biden said he received a promise from Obama before he accepted the offer to join the ticket."]
(CNN) - Before he accepted Barack Obama's offer to join his presidential ticket, Joe Biden got a promise from Obama: that he would be there for "every critical decision," Biden said in an interview broadcast Sunday.
Speaking to ABC's "This Week," Biden said he believes the vice president's role is to provide "the best, sagest, most accurate, most insightful advice and recommendations he or she can make to a president to help them make some of the very, very important decisions that have to be made."
When Obama talked to him about being his number two, "I said, 'I don't want to be picked unless you're picking me for my judgment. I don't want to be
the guy that goes out and has a specific assignment... I want a commitment from you that in every important decision you'll make, every critical decision,
economic and political, as well as foreign policy, I'll get to be in the room.'"
Biden said President-elect Obama has kept the promise, having Biden in the room for all of his decisions about who will fill key posts in the administration.
In what ABC billed as Biden's first interview as vice president-elect, Biden also discussed the role he played in helping Sen. Hillary Clinton decide to accept Obama's offer of serving as his secretary of state.
"She's one of my close friends. And when this came forward, I did talk to her. She sought me out. I sought her out as well, to assure her that this was real," he said, adding that "there was a lot swirling around" at the time.
http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/12/21/art.bidenpresser.gi.jpg caption="Vice President-elect Joe Biden will head a new task force on working families on Jaunary 20, 2009."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Come Inauguration day, newly minted Vice President Joe Biden will add one more task to his job title: working families czar, so-to-speak.
On Sunday, President-elect Barack Obama's transition team announced the new "White House Task Force on Working Families" - a major initiative targeted at "raising the living standards of middle-class, working families in America." The initiative will be chaired by Biden.
Other members of the task force will include: Secretaries of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Commerce, as well as the Directors of the National Economic Council, the Office of Management and Budget, the Domestic Policy Counsel, and the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors.
In an interview with ABC's "This Week," Biden said it's a "discrete job that's going to last only for a certain period of time."
"The one thing that we use as a yardstick of economic success of our administration: Is the middle class growing? Is the middle class getting better? Is the middle class no longer being left behind? And we'll look at everything from college affordability to after school programs ... I will be the guy honchoing that policy," he said.
Biden said he will have the authority to get a consensus among the task force - but will use his relationship with the president if a consensus isn't reached.
"If in fact there is no consensus, [I'd] go to the president of the United States and say, 'Mr. President, I think we should be doing this, cabinet member so and so thinks that. You're going to have to resolve what it is we think we should do.'"
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/12/21/clinton.debt/art.clintondebt.gi.jpg caption="Hillary Clinton says she hopes to have her campaign debt paid before her possible confirmation as secretary of state."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton had $6.4 million in presidential campaign debt at the end of November, according to a report filed Saturday with the Federal Election Commission.
The amount, though still significant, represents the lowest level of debt the New York senator's failed presidential campaign has reported this year. Clinton's campaign debt reached its peak, $12 million, at the end of June and has gradually fallen since then.
Clinton said she hopes to pay off her debt before her possible confirmation as secretary of state.
Clinton has also officially forgiven the $13.2 million she personally loaned her campaign. Under the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, presidential candidates who loan their campaigns money from personal funds may only be paid back if they do so by the national party convention - in this case, the Democratic National Convention held last August in Denver.
Clinton began November with $985,000 in her campaign account and raised nearly $290,000 by the end of the month. Her campaign paid out $1.2 million, mainly to unpaid vendors, ending the month with $188,000 in the bank.
The $6.4 million in remaining debt is owed to a total of 16 creditors.