President Obama says in a New Yorker profile of vice president Joe Biden that his second in command would make a “superb” president.
“He has seen the job up close, he knows what the job entails,” Obama told New Yorker writer Evan Osnos. “He understands how to separate what’s really important from what’s less important. I think he’s got great people skills. He enjoys politics, and he’s got important relationships up on the Hill that would serve him well.”
Osnos writes that he caught Obama “at a moment of restlessness” -- comparing himself to a caged circus bear -- and that the president “couldn’t hide his bewilderment that his friends would want to subject themselves to another Presidential campaign.
“I think that, for both Joe and for Hillary, they’ve already accomplished an awful lot in their lives,” Osnos quotes Obama as saying. “The question is, do they, at this phase in their lives, want to go through the pretty undignifying process of running all over again.”
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He added that, “you have to have that fire in the belly, which is a question that only Joe can answer himself.”
And Obama said, “In the meantime, what I’m very grateful for is that he has not let that question infect our relationship or how he has operated as Vice-President. He continues to be extraordinarily loyal. He continues to take on big assignments that may not have a huge political upside.”
He brought up Biden’s recent trip to Ukraine for the inauguration of its president, Petro Poroshenko, saying, “He’s there, a world figure that people know, and he’s signifying the importance that we place on the Ukrainian election. And then world leaders can transmit directly to him their thoughts about how we proceed. That’s not necessarily helping him in Iowa.”
The article contains vintage Biden-idisms and in it, Biden takes on his critics, including former Defense Secretary Bob Gates, who wrote in his memoir that Biden was wrong about every foreign policy issue.
“He called Gates ‘a really decent guy’ and then unloaded on him: ‘Bob Gates is a Republican, with a view of foreign policy that is, in many fundamental ways, different from mine. Bob Gates has been wrong about everything! Bob Gates is wrong about the advice he gave President Reagan about how to deal with Gorbachev! That he wasn’t real. Thank God the President didn’t listen to him. Bob Gates was wrong about the Balkans. Bob Gates was wrong about the bombing. Bob Gates was wrong about the Vietnam War, for Christ’s sake. You go back, and everything in the last forty years, there’s nothing that I can think of, major fundamental decisions relative to foreign policy, that I can think he’s been right about!’ “