- The Washington Times - Monday, July 16, 2012

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. revealed a little more Monday about the origins of a cottage on his Delaware property that he is renting to the Secret Service for about $20,000 per year, saying the structure was “a tiny barn” when he purchased the property.

“It had a little, tiny barn on it, it was like a big garage,” Mr. Biden said of the Wilmington property. “And it was at the top of the driveway, and my brothers said I ‘gingerbreaded’ it up. I put nicer doors on it, and put shutters on the windows so it didn’t look like an old, dilapidated barn when you walked in.”

As The Washington Times first reported last year, Mr. Biden and his wife Jill are collecting $2,200 per month in rent from the Secret Service for agents’ use of the cottage. According to the Bidens’ 2011 tax returns, their total annual income was $379,035, including $20,900 for renting the cottage. The vice president’s salary is $230,700.

The vice president said he originally wanted his mother, Jean, to live in the main house with him and his wife. But Mr. Biden said his mother wanted the cottage for herself. So he said he helped to draw up the plans himself, including only one bedroom because his father had died by that time.

“I designed this great little cottage, it had one bedroom,” Mr. Biden said. “So I had the architect come in with me, and I laid it out on the dining room table, and [Jean Biden] said ‘It only has one bedroom.’ I said ‘Honey, is there something you want to tell me about I don’t know?’”

He said his mother wanted more bedrooms in the cottage for grandchildren and great-grandchildren to visit. But Mr. Biden protested that his own house has five bedrooms, and the main house is located only 500 feet from the cottage.

Jean Biden lived in the cottage until her death in 2010 at age 92. After that, the Bidens rented the cottage to another tenant, charging the same amount of rent that the Secret Service is now paying.

The Secret Service previously rented properties in the Wilmington area for agents who were providing protection for the vice president at his residence.

The vice president spoke about the cottage Monday during a somewhat rambling discussion at the White House about the need to preserve Medicare and other government-retirement programs, and about the dangers posed to seniors by Republican proposals to reform those programs.

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