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Jill's Spill

Damon's picture

So, lost among all of the pre-inaugeration coverage on Monday was the news that Jill Biden revealed, apparently, on Oprah that her husband was given a choice between Secretary of State and the vice presidency:

an. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Joe Biden’s spokeswoman issued a statement backing away from remarks made by the vice president- elect’s wife on a television program suggesting that Biden “had the choice” of being secretary of state or vice president.

Biden and his wife, Jill, appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s show today, the eve of the inauguration. Jill Biden suggested that Barack Obama had offered her husband his pick of two administration jobs. She said she preferred the vice presidency.

“If you’re secretary of state, you’ll be away, we’ll never see you, you know,” Jill Biden, 57, said in a clip of the program posted on ABC’s Web site. “I’ll see you at a state dinner once and awhile. 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 all the time. And that’s what’s important to us.”

Elizabeth Alexander, a spokeswoman for Biden, said Obama offered him “one job only -- to be his running mate. And the vice president-elect was thrilled to accept the offer.”

What makes this news, at least to me, is that Joe Biden's people are parsing this thing, and for what, really?

“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,” Alexander said. “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.”

This is spin if I never saw it. Anyway, this has only heightened by curiosity about exactly what Obama and Hillary discussed at Feinstein's house at the closing of the primaries. To be a fly on the wall during all of these wranglings would have been something.

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Submitted by jawbone on

as Secty of State. Mostly clout within the administration. Is Biden going to be a stealth SecSt? He's already been sent abroad by Obama. Will there be contention between his office (albeit he is not a Cheney exactly) and hers? Will Obama play one against the other?

Most commentary on successful Secs of State is that there must be no space between them and their president for them to have a hope of being effective. Which was why both Colin Powell (why did he not just resign, speak out against the Iraq Invasion, and spare us this agony?) and even Condi (seems she was often undermined, even up to the end over the UN Gaza resolution) were essentially ineffective.

I tend to believe what Dr. Biden said, that Obama did offer Sen. Biden a choice.

It also makes it even more interesting as to what Obama said to John Kerry, who apparently really wanted SecSt and, also apparently, thought he had a chance....

Wheels within wheels, and dolls within dolls (as in those nesting Russian dolls).

Damon, did you see the Frontline program on how Obama became president? Dreams of Obama. Was on last night. It was sometimes difficult to tell if former Obama supporters were still Obama supporters, given how they talked about him and his political machinations. I'd love to read others' impressions of the program.

Full program can be watched on line or check local PBS stations for broadcast times.

Submitted by jawbone on

for run for nomination in 2012? Or for governor of TX?

Some guy on MSNBC said that he thinks the Repubs are going to attack Dem lawmakers (especially leaders), Obama's nominees, anyone except The One--for quite awhile. He predicted a two year honeymoon. Others on at the time thought 6-9 months, or year.

Kay Bailey Hutchinson agrees that Eric Holder confirmation should be held up over 1) torture issue and 2) something about right bear arms. Okaaaay, Kay.

goldberry's picture
Submitted by goldberry on

I think she is the one who demanded SOS. She knew that the VP job is just ceremonial or would go back to being ceremonial in the new admin. She also knew that she is bound to get to do a lot more stuff by putting out wars, working on international economic issues and redeeming our reputation around the world. I wouldn't be surprised if Biden didn't agree to a swap and she went into the meeting at DiFi's house knowing she could get it.
She had a mighty big cudgel. She had essentially won the primaries and if she wanted to, she could have created a massive stink that would have haunted Obama all the way to the convention. If it had been *me*, I would have gone for it just to teach the party a lesson it would never forget. But maybe she wanted to go out on a high note and the SOS position is absolutely crucial in this administration. She is the foreign president. That is the position she has created for herself and she will perform very well while Obama struggles.
Success is the best revenge.

Davidson's picture
Submitted by Davidson on

Never has that happened before and yet the first woman to win a primary or a caucus, let alone racked up the greatest number of votes in the history of the primary couldn't even get a real roll call? Outrageous. And that doesn't even begin to cover the whole "Recreate '68" threat to burn down Denver.

I don't think Clinton traded a Denver convention fight for anything. She fought to the very end just to give up to a weak candidate who many worried couldn't win the GE? I think she was steamrolled. Hard. I don't think she has as much power as people think. Obama, in my opinion, didn't want her to have anything to do with his administration until September 15th (e.g., refusing to even vet her for VP, hiring her former campaign manager). Then he realized he needed someone at SoS that would free him to focus on the economy back home. Who better than Hillary Clinton? He probably views her as the best person for the job and a nice, little scapegoat to use whenever he's in a jam.

And, RD: She is not the foreign president. She is the president's representative abroad.

On Favreau: I'll add that Obama is doing what he thinks he can get away with (as usual), which probably affects how he views Hillary Clinton. With Warren, Obama rightly received backlash from gay rights groups but was let off the hook on the heinous misogyny Warren espouses. That the tag team of Clinton in effigy by Obama staffers was universally greeted with, "How fun!" by the media and blogs shows how successful bigotry was this campaign. Huzzah! And how did supposed women's rights groups react? Why, Ms. put Obama on their cover as a damn superduper feminist! Why the fuck would he bother to even reprimand Favreau when he receives glorious praise for being just the way he is?

OT: The Senate is voting to confirm Clinton right now. Could Cornyn be any more of an asshole? Probably. Oh, and check out the new State Department site.

pie's picture
Submitted by pie on

the National Prayer Service. Front row: Hillary and Bill, Jill and Joe Biden, and the Obamas.

pie's picture
Submitted by pie on

The text read:

This morning, Pres. Barack Obama attends a National Prayer Service with the First Lady, other family members, along with friends and staff at Washington National Cathedral. Later today, he will be making a series of announcements both on domestic and on foreign policy.

Can't wait.

joel dan walls's picture
Submitted by joel dan walls on

Yeah, and Jill Biden says she is going to be teaching at a DC-area community college. As if! More likely editing Obamanation's secret history of how Hillary was stabbed in the back. I'm surprised that Caro's not all over this one already.

TonyRz's picture
Submitted by TonyRz on

HRC was the star attraction at a campaign debt-relief house party in the area, and apparently that didn't get a big response, because about ten days later, they announced that Joe Biden would be there, too.

This was all scheduled to happen January 7th, and I have no idea if it finally went on, or who showed up, or whatzit, because I maxed out my HRC primary fight contribs a long time ago.

I liked him a lot more after learning that.