Jill Biden's Candor

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.

Update [2009-1-19 20:27:6 by Charles Lemos]: Elizabeth Alexander, the spokesperson for the Vice-President-elect, e-mailed reporters a statement late this afternoon:
"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."

Tags: Dr. Jill Biden, Hillary Clinton, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Vice Presidency, Vice President Joe Biden (all tags)



Re: Jill Biden's Candor

Interesting.  If the Biden's would have the chosen the Secretary of State position.   Where would Hillary be?

I am curious to know how the Obama/Clinton meeting would have gone prior to the Democratic Convention at Denver in discussing compensation, etc...

Would Obama have been forced to accept Hillary as VP as compensation for the Convention speech and endorsement she gave while stumping throughout the Fall.

by newmexicodem 2009-01-19 03:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Jill Biden's Candor

She would be in the Senate...  I think he would have made an offer of another position (Health and Human Services) and she would have turned it down.   Simple as that.

by yitbos96bb 2009-01-19 06:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Jill Biden's Candor

Health and Human Services?    I doubt it.    Some would have seen that as an insult.

Obviously it was evident that Hillary would endorse Obama as showcased in early June.    

However the key question is whether she would have agreed to showcased her endorsement via the numerous stump speeches and DNC Convention prime-time speech.

Would Hillary have agreed to counteract the Palin factor without anything in return.  She had the NY Senate job for life if she wanted it.  Nothing to lose.....So what substance of value was being negotiated during the numerous private meeting between Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Bill Clinton that brought forth the means to an end.

Once Mccain choosed Sarah Palin.....it was obvious that Obama needed a swift response to neutralism the momentum that the GOP VP candidate brought to the table.  

An endorsement is a given especially when both Obama and Clinton are from the same political party....but asking for one's time and enthusiasm is another difficult task given the heated primaries a few  months earlier.    

by newmexicodem 2009-01-19 06:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Jill Biden's Candor

Please...it's not candor, it's a GAFFE! Otherwise there's no way for the reichwing to make a big-ass deal about no big deal!

by Spiffarino 2009-01-19 03:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Jill Biden's Candor

I am all speculated out at this point.  Maybe someday Harry Turtledove can write an alternate history for the curious.

by Steve M 2009-01-19 03:59PM | 0 recs
no matter how you try to explain it away

Jill Biden was candid (candor has a way of speaking for it's self and refuting all BS without having to be repeated). Joe Biden, as she understood it at that time was given a choice. I really don't see what the big deal is. So what, he chose the VP slot, move on.

I do agree that the media wants to create a story here, or more like create a controversy. That is true. Why does the diarist feel Hillary Clinton would be mad at this piece of news?

by FLS 2009-01-19 04:11PM | 0 recs
Re: More important question

Or why would she care?  It was quite clear during the debates that she and Biden were two peas in a pod, with Biden typically siding with her over foreign policy issues.  Biden has repeatedly kissed her ass (including the moronic endorsement of her as VP after he had already received the nod).  

We may never know the absolute truth here, but it stands to reason that at MOST, Obama might have said: "I definitely want you by my side, either as VP or State.  How do you feel about leaving the Senate?"  So?

Even if it were true that he was offered State, then the VP spot might have been Hillary Clinton's, or Secretary of Health and Human Services to shepherd through the health care proposal.

Yes, these people have enormous egos, but they aren't children.  If Biden is to believed, that he's going to reduce the power of the VP office, then her job will be significantly more important.  This is a story about nothing.

by Bob Fenster 2009-01-20 04:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Jill Biden's Candor

I find it hard to believe that Obama would offer Biden a choice of Secretary of State in August, months before the election.

by RJEvans 2009-01-19 04:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Jill Biden's Candor

Probably not... but then many of us were saying Biden for SOS before the VP was chosen.  He was a popular pick on MyDD.

by yitbos96bb 2009-01-19 06:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Jill Biden's Candor


I don't know why the comment about Clinton being displeased about this is included.  HRC has proven herself to be an adult and a class act.  Even if she were ticked off, she would smile and behave politely.

These three are a senator sandwich--two who never really wanted to be there but had to in order to get where they wanted, and one who after two decades of trying finally got the fuck out.  Good for all of them.

by SuperCameron 2009-01-19 06:13PM | 0 recs
BFD indeed
I absolutely love this comment.
by linc 2009-01-19 11:15PM | 0 recs
Five people...

She went to the protest, which consisted of "five people and a sign."

Just from that information alone, I'm sure we can guess their usernames.

by Dumbo 2009-01-19 06:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Jill Biden's Candor

Nevertheless, the Secretary of State job is the one with the most potential upside for Clinton.  If she gets some Kissingeresq successes under her belt, and impresses generally, as she well may, she might have put herself into a strong position to be Obama's 2016 successor.  America's Golda Meier.

by Bob H 2009-01-20 01:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Jill Biden's Candor

...but Golda Meir WAS American!

by Steve M 2009-01-20 04:01AM | 0 recs

...why does anybody still speculate what Hillary Clinton should consider as an insult?  Can't Hillary Clinton make that determination her own damn self?

by Dracomicron 2009-01-20 04:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Jill Biden's Candor

Candor is a good thing and the Bidens are like the anti-Cheneys. However, this couple babbles on too much. How about waiting 8 years to lose any sense of discretion? At least Biden wasn't offered the CIA post.

by Pravin 2009-01-20 07:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Jill Biden's Candor

I feel it is entirely possible that Obama wanted one for VP and one for SoS. If Joe had picked SoS, HRC would have had VP. How do we know that HRC didn't turn down VP? It's possible. This friction stirring is just gossip mongering to sell newspapers. The real story is what's going to happen to TARP, EFCA, Bush Investigations, Environmental Regulation, No Child Left Behind. You know? Things that will actually make a difference in peoples' lives, not tabloid crap.

by antiHyde 2009-01-20 08:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Jill Biden's Candor

What part of "over" does this diary not understand?

by redwagon 2009-01-20 08:40AM | 0 recs


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