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. Mike

    Biden needs to realize that he is now VP-Elect and finally learn to control his tongue. His comment on the economy "in the tank" is irresponsible. Perhaps Obama should re-think his VP choice come 2012.

    December 21, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  2. He means well

    The president needs the wisest advisor he can get.
    Joe's job is to find that person.

    December 21, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  3. Gerry in Va. for Obama.

    What a really great team Obama/Biden. One smart brain and one wise brain. PE Obama couldn't have chosen a better partner then Joe Biden and Joe Biden couldn't have chosen a better partner then Barack Obama.. They will do great things, just wait and see..

    December 21, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  4. Rita

    & housing?? PLEASE many people are loosing their homes. It's a real nightmare!

    December 21, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  5. T

    Could someone tell Pastor Rick Warren that the Church Age is over.

    December 21, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  6. Hayden

    Interesting, isn't it, that the man picked to be "Working Families" Czar is someone who has never worked a real job in his life. There are far more competent people to head up this initiative than Senator for Life Biden.

    December 21, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  7. ANDROLOMA, Commerce City, Colorado



    December 21, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  8. peter, Florida

    Wow! the government of the people, for the people and by the people is finally at hand.I can't wait to test the glimpse of this piece of pie.

    Next go Obama/Biden 2012

    December 21, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  9. LifeBunny

    It will be interesting to see the role Joe Biden plays in the next four years.

    It's also interesting to note that no one seems to be following Dick "Little Sure Shot" Cheney at this point in time. One wonders where he is now.

    Let's hope this doesn't turn into 'Business As Usual", as we've seen so many other Presidencies become.

    December 21, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  10. Slicer

    This is the exact opposite of the Bush administration, where Cheney let Dubya help make critical decisions a couple of times.

    December 21, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  11. Charlie in Maine


    December 21, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  12. Elizabeth


    December 21, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  13. Forget it Joe......

    You will slowly be pushed into the background until you are but a voice in the wilderness along side the greats such as Dan Quayle. Within six months, we will all be saying again: "Joe Who?"

    December 21, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  14. David

    I'm sure Joe Biden will be a great vice-president. Yes we did!

    December 21, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  15. Timothy

    I just finished reading "The Audacity of Hope", the first book I've read entirely since High School, except the Bible, Book of Mormon, Apocrapha, and a few other religious books. I'm 54. It's a small world hear in west central IN.
    When I finished the book, I folded it closed and turned to the love of my life and wife from youth, married 33 yrs. and grandparents of 10. My wife is a lovely 49. More than anything else she would like to help her struggling children in these tough times, but truth is we need help ourselves.
    I realized the need to fill the positions of the administration as quickly and accurately as possible because this book published before the bid for president was announced explains the changes intended for how politics works period. The toes that will be stepped on are those of the most dangerous folks in the world. From those like the Gov. of IL, to coporate elites,to racists, to drug cartels and tobacco corps. People who will do vitually whatever it takes to remain the Masters rather than the Servants. And that how they see all things
    Those he now appoints must be ready and willing to pursue the just conclusion to his policys, even in his absence.
    I turned to my wife wilh all things considered and said to her, " They will kill him". Then we talked, and prayed. Please do the same. truly so; timothy

    December 21, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  16. Joe--your destiny is obscurity....

    Why would Obama listen to you? Would you help him decide where to get a manicure? Where to get his teeth whitened? How to slick down that white hair? No Joe, you're just the VP poster boy and if you want to be busy for the next four years, learn how to surf the net.

    December 21, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  17. Donna Hughes

    It is just as he said in the New Yorker article. You are a good man, Joe Biden, and we are fortunate to have you in there!

    December 21, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  18. Willy Brown

    Joe just sit in the back of the mothership and pet your dog and please be quiet for 4 years.

    December 21, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  19. Cathy

    Time will tell but I do have a lot of faith in the President Elect and VP Elect Biden, who I suspect will freely offer his perspectives on all issues.

    December 21, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  20. Dan, TX

    The Bush administration is still in charge and Bush's bailouts are probably helping on the economy. The BUSH deficits and debt are ENORMOUS. The REPUBLICAN deficit spending has put us in terrible shape. The spending Obama's administration has to do to keep us afloat may sink us in the end yet. But it isn't democrat vs. republican. It is stupid republicans for the past 8 years vs real republicans and everyone else trying to save this country.

    December 21, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  21. Anne

    he is not president yet he can say and do anything,

    December 21, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  22. D. D.

    At least he won't be a jack___ like the VP we have now with his sorry thoughts and attitudes.

    December 21, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  23. Snotpocket

    Pat Leahy is a treasonous dog who deserves whatever contempt that can be heaped on him. He has thrown up more dirt and smoke screens than most Democrat opereticeks. History will shown him to be a traitor on an epic scale.

    December 21, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  24. carol

    I think PE Obama will keep Joe Biden involved in his decision making efforts, he will have a lot to offer especially on foreign policy and I'm sure Hillary would also welcome that input from Joe Biden.
    Although they all have very different roles to play, I think PE Obama wants them to all come together and work as a team for the good of the country.

    December 21, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  25. Eugene

    After reading Cheney's interview today and Biden's words: Is not it deeply refreshing and invigorating to have integrity, courage, wisdom, and humanity stride back into the White House?

    December 21, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
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