If it seems like Joe Biden was just waxing poetic about “the first mainstream" black guy who's "bright and clean," then you probably won't recognize the fierce veep who defended the boss last week, shouting at whining Dems, "There's no goddamned way I'm going to stand here and talk about the president like that!" The gaffe-prone half of 2008's odd couple has evolved into devoted right-hand man and trusted adviser, notes New York Times in a look at Biden's expanding role. The Senate veteran is uniquely positioned to serve as a bridge to Congress for an insider-ish White House.
It was Biden who pushed Obama to seek a tax-cut deal, Biden who worked out the terms with the GOP, and Biden who helped sell it to Democrats. The veep is seeking Republican votes for the New START, taking a lead in Iraq, and working a burgeoning crisis in Lebanon, among other jobs. Obama needs Biden because he “just doesn’t have the personal relationships that Joe has,” notes Chris Dodd. And “Biden brings everything that Rahm Emanuel brings, but the major difference is everyone likes Joe Biden,” adds a New York rep.