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. H


    December 21, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  2. A Really Conservative Realist

    If there is one ounce of intellectual honesty in the liberal blood that is represented here...please recognize that Biden wants the same position within the presidency as Cheney enjoyed. You'll need to fuss about our VP elect tthe same way you fussed about Cheney. I sure am looking forward to each of you who has bashed Cheney posting a big fat "Biden = Cheney". I'll be waiting.

    December 21, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  3. Shane


    December 21, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  4. 3strikes

    all those 2 clowns, nobama and biden, are goin to do is shoot words out of their mouths, no change, just more of the same washington insider politics.

    December 21, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  5. Michael PA

    To all those who are saying Joe Biden is wise, and good, and blah blah blah. What are you basing this on? I searched high and low and couldn't find anything he has ever done of any significance.

    December 21, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  6. A Nony Mouse

    "It is a discreet job that's going to last only for a certain period of time,"

    FYI, the word Biden used was probably "discrete."

    December 21, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  7. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Good to hear this, as I believe the winning ticket was backwards on experience and judgment.

    December 21, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  8. proudliberal-independent

    hillary as sos was a mistake. so was gates and jones. so is warren. so is the new clinton/bush administration. change will never come from the 'center'. we been tryin' that since JFK, and it only brings gridlock. this is the democrats best chance since the early 60's to begin real change, but, if it gets lost in appeasement ,to those on the right and in the middle, then don't expect too much.

    December 21, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  9. nicholas

    A good mix . Will take U.S there..............................

    December 21, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  10. FreeNLovIt

    I dont care about what, where, when...... JUST get the JOB done!!!

    December 21, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  11. billy-bayou

    "Biden the working famlies Czar"

    just what we need, a frigging Czar to keep the obamanation company.

    December 21, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  12. FreeNLovIt

    To Dan

    We will need to pray. If America doesnt make it, it looks like, we'll have to join the New World Order, EU.

    December 21, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  13. Tom

    Who are you kidding, Mike? It IS in the tank.

    December 21, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  14. ironmen1987

    Obama could've went to a mental ward and found a more stable VP than Biden. He'll live to regret the choice....

    December 21, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  15. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    Hey Mike!

    Rethink the VP choice? They haven't even been sworn in yet! Give this team a chance!

    Just be glad that Palin isn't in the VP office: she never did know what the job of the VP was ...

    December 21, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  16. An Obama Supporter

    Mike: Why is it those so many people want the truth and then complain when they receive it? The only way the needed infusion of cash will be given support is if the voters realize the consequences if it doesn't happen.
    Biden did not speak out of turn; too many people want to cling to one dimensional views of public figures which thank heavens so many aren't.

    December 21, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  17. nate

    Barack, Biden, Hillary – thank God we have the smart people running things again.

    December 21, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  18. Becky, KS

    Of course Biden will be there for every "critical"decision. Biden is the one with thirty years experience. Obama needs his input.

    December 21, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  19. Arundel

    Biden is an idiot...Period

    December 21, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |

    We might just have an excellent combination – the inexperienced and the experienced. It does not mean to say it is bad at all for a president to be that, it is just that he has to learn fast while in the hot seat. At least it looks like he has done a very good job looking for a good group of people as his supporting cast. I wish them well.

    December 21, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  21. Donna from Ohio

    If Biden is so smart and wise why wasn't he chosen as President? He didn't do well in the primaries as I recall.

    December 21, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  22. Gary in VA

    I think President elect- Obama has been truly underestimated for his brain power/intellect. This man has thought out every move with great precision. Your going to be truly surprised of the capabilities of this
    black man. With the office of Presidency at his discretion I see great things. Good luck and God's speed.

    December 21, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  23. John Galt in Colorado


    December 21, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  24. Lori

    I am pleased to have Biden as Obama's VP.

    After 8 years of the devil Cheney, I am so glad that we have 2 people in the White House looking to help ALL Americans and not the wealthiest ones only!

    December 21, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  25. Texas Teacher

    Sounds reasonable to me. 🙂

    I think that Obama and Biden make a very good team. Biden has the years of experience in Washington and shares Obama's views. And I think he could handle the job God forbid anything happened to Obama. This just confirms my belief that Obama is choosing the best qualified people for his Team. And that he plans to utilize everyone he has chosen!

    December 21, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
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