December 21st, 2008
01:53 PM ET
14 years ago

What Obama promised Biden

[cnn-photo-caption image= 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.

Biden said he does not know whether he played a "key" role in helping Clinton make her decision. "It wasn't so much convincing, but I - they wanted
to know my perspective, and I gave my perspective."

Biden will have a specific assignment at first. On Sunday, 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." Biden will chair the task force.

"It is a discreet job that's going to last only for a certain period of time," Biden said, vowing that the task force will "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-schoolprograms, the things that affect people's daily lives."

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Joe Biden
soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. yellow dog democrat

    it seems to me to be a good team with respect for each other – not a bad start – which is a good thing with all the problems they (and this country) face right now!!

    December 21, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  2. Connie from Indiana

    Mike, What did you want Joe Biden to say , every thing is just rosy. As for me I am tried of being lied to , we all know Bush/Cheney have put us in the toilet. The truth is the truth, why sugar coat it.

    December 21, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  3. flybyshoeing

    I am disappointed in regards to his comment that they will leave it up to the DOJ to look into Bush/Cheney war crimes. That they need to look forward. Well IMO if they do not clean up what happened looking back, it may just happen again. No accountability, NO progress.

    December 21, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  4. sunshine

    it's good to see joe.

    December 21, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  5. Dan, FL

    Barack and Joe is a disastrous combination for our nation. We will have four years of difficult period here and the damage that they will do, we will need 10-15 years to recover. We are going back in everything. These guys have no clue on what they are doing. Barack has appointed people from different background and Barack has to spend time to get them in line with one decision. He will not be able to have consensus and Barack has no experience. It is a pity.

    December 21, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  6. steve r

    power trip?


    some type of chip on his shoulder?

    this guy is a chump too?

    but he and obama still owe me a check..........

    December 21, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  7. David

    I like Joe Biden. However, I feel he needs to watch what he says in public. This is probably what cost him the Presidency early in the race. As a Republican, I think he was the best candidate for President this year. His policies are not extreme and he keeps to middle. Joe knows how the deals are made in Washington and seems to have a good understanding of the typical working family. We do not need radical government policy experiments right now. We need proven policies to get out of the mess in our country. I sure hope Obama listens to him.

    For starters, we can get rid of the sugarcane ethenol tax and quit pushing corn ethenol. Not only does corn ethenol waste more energy to make than sugarcane ethenol, it is driving up the price of corn which affects all of us at the gorcery store.

    December 21, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  8. arlene, CA

    I like Biden ok, was not that "fired up" about clinton as sos, but at least she can not run against Obama in 2012 i guess, Obama said he wanted Biden present for all meetings & he's keeping his word on that.

    December 21, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  9. G.R.I.T.S - Girl Raised in the South

    Amen, Gerry. Mike, get a life. He's just telling it like it is. Our economy is in the tank. As far as VP's not being able to mind their tongues, what about that Cheney and is f-bomb? That man does not regret anything and is wholly unwilling to admit to anything wrong. Just take his response when asked about 2/3 of Americans opposing the wars. He said, "So?" He cares about nothing but his own pocket.

    December 21, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  10. sandee in Portland

    Mike, I think Biden's comment that the economy is "in the tank" is an honest, accurate statement. I would rather have an honest politician than one who is politically correct. Obama made a great choice in his VP selection.

    December 21, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  11. Tracy-Oakley

    I think Obama and Biden make a great team and as long as the communications line stays together then this great team will come into fruition.

    December 21, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  12. Promises

    He likes to make promises, or smoothing talkig, but... welcome to the real world. Only time can tell, if he is our savior, or the last angel standing, abolutely honest, pure and holy, as he claims to be a devout Christian, and a regular churchgoer.

    December 21, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  13. CS

    Yay, Joe! He seems so genuine. I think he will be a wonderful V-P

    December 21, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  14. Jan Illinois

    Sounds unreal after The Bush administrations secrets and lies. No man should have to make these hard decisions on his/her own, here's to hoping that many heads are better than one

    December 21, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  15. TyWebb

    Hey, "Mike", wake up. When politicians speak in platitudes and B.S., they are you are doing so when one speaks bluntly??? Better than what McCain said a few months back that ruined his campaign (oh, yes...Palin helped do that, too.).

    December 21, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  16. Terry B.

    It could have possibly been Obama's most stupid decisions...NOT to have Joe in the room on every decision. With his inexperience as of now it makes him look wise in taking Biden's request and say yes...

    December 21, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  17. aware

    So... who cares about Biden?

    PEBO is a Chicago politician who has participated in palm-greasing thuggery!

    He is also an Alinsky graduate in community organizing!

    And a guy in search of an identity. He is neither black nor white, and his parents basically abandoned him!

    Manipulative rhetoric is his game, and the pseudo intellectuals have bought his blather!

    Can he continue the con? We will soon see!

    December 21, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  18. Kathleen

    The first thing is a moritorium on all foreclosures, and unsecured credit payment holidays until jobs are restored. Also those who have been out of work for longer than a year need that unemployment extension too. No matter what the gov says, Americans have had it tough since 2006. Finally, bring the poor into training with childcare. No more of this draconian anti poor policy. Since Bush transfered so much of our wealth to corporations, we need a serious breather until we are able to work to restore this country. It is our productivity that creates wealth.

    December 21, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  19. Wayne D. PA

    Give the man a break by July and see if we made progress, everybody on his back and he not even in the White House they never treated any other president like you people are crazy. Just give the men a chance.

    December 22, 2008 05:19 am at 5:19 am |
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