From last Saturday's The Boston Globe:
I know as much or more than Cheney. I'm the most experienced vice president since anybodyI grant you that Vice President Biden was in the Senate for a long time. But, Vice President Chaney (full disclosure here--I didn't like Mr Chaney as VP, or even as SecDef) had been Chief of Staff to President Ford and Secretary of Defense, plus time as a member of the House of Representatives, including as Minority Whip. I think Vice President Biden is stretching here, and falling short.
Then there is this from CBS
In his first interview as Vice President, Joseph Biden told CBS News' Bob Schieffer that he does not see his role to be "deputy president." Rather, said he hopes to be a "confidant, advisor and essentially the last guy in the room when [President Obama] makes critical decisions."I am not going there at this time.
Appearing on Face The Nation this morning, Biden was asked how he views his role in comparison to his predecessor Dick Cheney, arguably the "single most powerful vice president."
Biden responded that "hopefully" he can "help shape policy" with President Obama, noting that "thus far that is how it has worked."
"The agreement that he and I made is that I would be available for every single major decision that he makes … that I would have all the paper, all the material, all the meetings," he said. "Again, not for me to make decisions, [but] for me to give the best advice that I can give."
The Vice President explained that before he agreed to become Obama's running mate, he said, "I don't want to be on the ticket unless you are hiring me on for my judgment."
I will say that I was relieved to hear that Vice President Biden does not see himself as the "Deputy President." As I have argued here before, there is good reason to keep the Vice President separated from the President in terms of allowing for a clean break in the event of impeachment or resignation.
That said, the fact that Vice President Biden gets to see all the paperwork for decisions is a good thing. There are a lot of people who question President Harry S Truman's decision with regard to the use of nuclear weapons to end World War II. While I am not sure the outcome would have been different, I do think that he would have benefited from having known about the Manhattan project from the beginning of his term of office, so he could have had more time to ask questions and consider the implications of using such a powerful weapon. Granted, he did have several months, but he also no longer had the leisure of being the Vice President in which to contemplate the issues.
Regards -- Cliff