January 22nd, 2009
11:29 AM ET
9 years ago

Preston on Politics: Obama's 'Senate man'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/21/preston.politics/art.joebiden.gi.jpg caption="Joe Biden has long been a fixture on Capitol Hill and now assumes the role of vice president."] WASHINGTON (CNN) - It was a beautiful autumn day when I bumped into Sen. Joe Biden outside the U.S. Capitol, and I was desperately looking for information about questions that at the time were unanswerable.

People were fleeing the Capitol and scattering in different directions. They were headed anywhere but there - except for Biden.

At the time, I was working for the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call, and I stopped and asked him "What do you know? You're the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee." He paused and said, "Let's talk down there," pointing to a location farther down the hill. "I was just told by the Capitol Police that there is an inbound plane headed for the Capitol."

That fateful day was September 11, 2001.

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Filed under: Joe Biden • Preston on Politics
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. Mick in Mesa

    Good man – My vote for Obama was made more comfortable because of JB.
    BUT...His inclination for the gift of gab and twisted gaffes could quickly reduce him to the cartoon status of Dan Quail if he's not careful.

    January 22, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  2. geecee

    Joe Biden is a fine, decent man and I am so glad Obama chose him as V.P. We are indeed in good hands. These two men will lead our country out of the mess left behind by the former President and V.P. God Bless them and protect them and their families.

    January 22, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  3. Linda in MS

    Great article.

    January 22, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  4. Davey Boy

    How often did Biden give away intelligence like that to a reporter .. ...

    January 22, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  5. Elizabeth

    One thing I admire about Joe Biden is that he has been able to keep his temper and good nature and ability to act independently and authentically despite decades of bad jokes, simplistic pigeon-holing, and ugly swipes. I suspect that is one of the reasons Obama selected him, because he too is authentic and brave and wants to work with people who are also. If Joe can help our President retain his sense of self and perspective about the ugliness that gets thrown at everyone in power these days, that may be the most important contribution of all. If folks want to underestimate or oversimplify Joe Biden ....... well, that's their problem. I'm willing to bet quite a lot that a similar look at their lives wouldn't reveal even one tenth of the achievement, good will and humanity that has marked his. We are very, very fortunate in our Vice President.

    January 22, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  6. Vegas Barbie for Obama

    Very good ticker item, this article. Joe Biden is a fine person and so what if he has the gift of gab? Yesterday's "gaffe" in his reference to Edwards is really no big deal. He and Pres. Obama will learn each other's ways as time goes on, as any good team does. Last and certainly not least, I far, far, FAR prefer having Joe Biden in the #2 seat, a constitutional law scholar who headed a Foreign Relations Committee, than the candidate the Republicans offered in S. Palin, someone with a JOURNALISM degree it took her 6 years and 5 schools to accomplish and whose "foreign policy experience" consisted solely of the fact that she could see Russia from her state. Thank GOD for Joe Biden as our VP and of course, for Mr. Obama as our PRESIDENT! I love the sound of it! PRESIDENT OBAMA!

    January 22, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  7. Kay

    I firmly believe that we have just elected the best of the best for this country. President Obama and Vice President Biden will be open and honest with the American people.
    It is too bad that the former administration chose to do otherwise.
    In my estimation, former President Bush's biggest mistake of his life was to have chosen Cheney as his Vice President. It is quite obvious that Cheney believed he was president and that Rumsfeld was vice president. It is sad that the former president let this happen. Bush would possibly have been a better leader if he had not had these two men and certain others involved in his administration.

    January 22, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  8. Carole

    Blogs, I am tired of the media, it has become ridiculous, repeating
    events 100 times a day. They have started beating this administration the second day. America focus on small things, instead of things of importance. Let Biden be Biden, who cares about where the wife belongs right side left side,just let us keep in mind that she is on his side. Whoever implemented the writings that she should stand on his right side probably was written over 100 years ago. We now have washers and dryers, not ringer washers, automobiles, not horse and buggy, airplanes,cell phones, black berry's, computers, the age of technology. OKAY....How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?
    A wise man will hear, and will increase learning, and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels. To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity. America
    we are a great country only we will destroy it. Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets. We all need each other, stop tearing down and let us all build each other up.

    January 22, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  9. Dont blame me

    I wonder how long it will be before Biden has another FOOT in MOUTH episode???

    January 22, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  10. Retreads

    Biden a stupid jerk second only to Harry Reid. This congress has more losers than any congress in history. No wonder their approval ratiing is 5%.

    January 22, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  11. Hopeful

    Janey are you serously that petty!?!?!

    Some of the things I read here are unbelievable. Some of you are soo petty. Maybe someone should throw you guys in the middle of the war, so you can try and find food and shelter, and try not to get killed. You would then think this bull$%% you are spewing is petty and irrelevant.

    January 22, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  12. Roy

    Funny people bash Biden for his gift of gab and going off message.....can you IMAGINE what would be happening if Ms. Palin had become Vice President???
    I think Joe has handled all the negative press gracefully (very unlike Palin), and seems to be a flexible and intelligent person.
    Also, unlike Cheney (and Palin), he actually seems to be accessible and not a total tool if you ask him a question that he does not like!

    January 22, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  13. loribee

    Ya gotta love Joe!

    January 22, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  14. Debbie

    VP Biden reminds me of that Grandpa who always tells the stories of the old days and tries to steer your path by sharing his mistakes. He seems like a down-to-earth person with a true heart of gold. Love ya Joe!

    January 22, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  15. Knox


    The fact that you watched that coverage of the oath and came up with Obama jumping in and interrupting Roberts just reaffirms that the filter through which you whiny wingnuts see the world is totally screwed up.

    And yes, politicians are politicians...ours are just cooler than yours are.

    January 22, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  16. California Gold

    This is a fine article. The author's personal experience immediately draws the reader's attention and nicely segues to the additional role this valuable former Senator Now Vice President plays in the process. Odd to read so many personal criticisms when the subject of the article is something else.

    January 22, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  17. Matt

    @ Retreads

    Congress' approval rating is 5% for two reasons:

    1) The Republicans filibustered like crazy people and Bush set a record for vetoes over teh past 2 years because they didn't want anything the Dems were trying to do to get done...they wanted to try to use the stagnation of Congress from 2006 onward as a campaign tactic. You apparently swallowed it hook line and sinker.

    2) Dems are angry at the Dems in Congress for not fighting back hard enough...so yeah, I hope you GOPers have some awesome fun with our new majorities. You get what you deserve.

    January 22, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  18. TCM

    @ KAY – "The best of the best?" hahaha...you're kidding right?

    Biden's a zero. In fact, check out other CNN headlines about the type of leadership you libs support....Pelosi and Reid already going against the Messiah because he wants to actually use common sense and delay inforcing taxes...go ahead, tax the rich. They will uproot their businesses and move elsewhere...proven fact. Besides, the richest people in this country pay the bulk of the taxes! It's going to be a long 4 yrs with Obama fighting with Pelosi, Reid and cronies.....America voted for the "celebrity," and now we'll have all the drama to go with it!

    January 22, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  19. Sue

    It was Roberts' error..he apologized! Obama clearly had the oath memorized, and when Roberts messed up the order, he was thrown for a second. They fixed it...this isn't a liberal witch hunt. We'll save that for something important, like holding war criminals responsible for their acts. And you might want to check out the extent of the "harmless" wiretapping committed by the ex-President...seems he was listening to ALL of us, all the time! So much for the values of the Constitution being upheld by good old GWB.

    January 22, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  20. joe smith

    great men excell anywhere you put them.. couple of interesting notes; mr. specter must want to know where Mr. Holder comes down on apac before he confirms him. also, how is it that oil/barrel is nudging up with a Demoratic President, since there is a world glut, and tankers are floating around with no place to put the stuff, and opec has turned the valve towards off again, there is something wrong with that picture..

    January 22, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  21. Tony

    I love Joe January 22nd, 2009 2:08 pm ET

    Kathleen at 12:43:

    Exactly. He's honest and caring and genuine. Even people who don't agree with his position on policies should at least respect him for his character.
    He does remind me of my old senile uncle. He makes stupid remarks all the time too.

    January 22, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
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