The new book Game Change by journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann continues to stir things up in Washington. While the book has blown up controversy over racially charged remarks from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and former President Bill Clinton, Game Change also goes into the rift between then candidates Barack Obama and Joe Biden.:
The book covers Mr. Obama’s frustration after Mr. Biden’s gaffes became too much for the president-to-be to bear. These gaffes included:Mr. Biden’s comments that he was more qualified than Mr. Obama to be president, that Mr. Obama would be tested with an international crisis, and that it was patriotic to pay higher taxes.
“How many times is Biden gonna say something stupid?” Mr. Obama angrily asked of his advisors at one point on a conference call. Speaking of conference calls, the book also says Obama campaign manager David Plouffe was questioned about why Mr. Biden was not on the nightly campaign conference call. It turned out the future vice president was on his own conference call with both Mr. Pouffe and campaign adviser David Axelrod.
Once in office, the Obama administration knew that keeping the new Vice President reigned in was not going to be easy. However, this is not to say they are not trying. Vice President Biden 2009 gaffes included talking about a tunnel (designed for trains) “which is designed to for automobile traffic”, forgetting Justice Steven’s name, telling people to “call his website”, and swearing at a former Senate colleague who greeted him as “Mr. Vice President.”
The Washington Times experienced first-hand how Mr. Biden’s handlers kept the Vice President’s missteps to a minimum. During the special election up in New York’s 23rd Congressional District last November, Vice President Biden joined then-Democratic candidate for congress Bill Owens in Upstate New York. Mr. Biden gave a prepared speech to supporters and was ushered off stage.
Mr. Biden then worked the line and shook hands with attendees at the event. I moved toward the line with my video camera and was immediately told by Biden staffers that video and audio equipment were not allowed near the Vice President, while he was working the line. Still photographers, however, were being allowed to get close enough to take pictures of Mr. Biden’s handshaking and conversations with different people, though. Apparently, the White House still does not trust the so-called more experienced Mr. Biden enough to speak “off script” and on the record just yet.