Jill Biden's Candor
by Charles Lemos, Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 02:39:26 PM EST
Dr. Jill Biden today on the Oprah Winfrey show said that her husband Joe Biden, the Vice President-elect, had been given a choice by the President-elect back in August of being either Vice President or Secretary of State. Apparently the gift of candor runs in the family. Well, at least, we now know how Joe Biden chose and we gained some insight into the decision-making process but one does wonder what if Joe Biden had chosen the other post, who would have been picked as the number two? I doubt it would have been Hillary Clinton.
From Jake Tapper's ABC News blog:
During the taping of the Oprah Winfrey show today, Dr. Jill Biden said that her husband, the vice president-elect, was given a choice of being either vice president or secretary of State.
This revelation came after Vice President-elect Joe Biden told Oprah that after then-Sen. Obama offered the job of VP he asked for some time to think about it and talk it over with his family.
Mrs. Biden interjected: "Joe had the choice of being secretary of State or vice president." She then seemed to realize she'd said something she wasn't supposed to have said.
Her husband laughed.
Said Oprah, trying to continue the conversation, "You said, 'Joe...?'"
"I said, 'Joe if you are secretary of State you will be away, I'll never see you,'" Mrs. Biden said. "We will see you at a state dinner once in a while. But I said if you are vice president, the entire family, because they worked so hard for the election, they can be involved ... They can come to our home, they can go to events, they can be with us and that is what is important to us."
Oprah turned to the VP-elect, asking "Were you worried about being number 2 because you wanted to be number one?"
"I think Barack was worried about it," the former senator said with a laugh.
This can't be the kind of thing that would please Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY.
All this is rather interesting and a tad amusing but is it relevant at this point? Some do consider the Vice Presidency to be a political exile. Daniel Webster once quipped on being offered the Vice Presidency by General Zachary Taylor that "I do not propose to be buried until I am dead." Dead but home for dinner in the case of Jill Biden it seems. Granted the Vice Presidency has changed and the office is now what the President and Vice President choose to make of it though the Constitutional role remains that of an irregular tiebreaker and there just in case and the odd errand.
I am also not sure if this does, as Jake Tapper suggests, open a Clinton can of worms but perhaps it does. I am going to guess that apart from the lunatic PUMA fringe, this story won't matter at all.
"Like anyone who followed the presidential campaign this summer, Dr. Jill Biden knew there was a chance that President-elect Obama might ask her husband to serve in some capacity and that, given his background, the positions of Vice President and Secretary of State were possibilities. Dr. Biden's point to Oprah today was that being Vice President would be a better fit for their family because they would get to see him more and get to participate in serving more. To be clear, President-elect Obama offered Vice President-elect Biden one job only -- to be his running mate. And the Vice President-elect was thrilled to accept the offer."