YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Biden says Obama had to sell him on the vice president job

At an annual Allegheny County Democratic Committee dinner in Pennsylvania, he says he initially rejected the offer flat-out.

October 25, 2009|Andrew Malcolm and Johanna Neuman

Remember that story about how then-Sen. Joe Biden became then-Sen. Barack Obama's Democratic vice presidential running mate?

In summer 2008, Biden accompanied his wife to the dentist's office for her root canal. His cellphone rang. It was Obama calling with the VP offer. Biden accepted. As long as he could play an important role in a new administration.

Speaking Monday at a Democratic dinner in Pennsylvania, Biden told a curiously different version: Biden said he initially rejected Obama's offer flat-out.

According to the press pool report, Biden said that "a couple months later," Obama repeated the offer in a hotel room in Minneapolis. According to Biden, he looked at Obama and said, "Are you really committed to changing the course of this country?"

Biden recounted, "He reached out, shook my hand and said, 'I am.' "

The rest is history.

Behind the scene

The White House on Friday released the official portrait of its occupants. Annie Leibovitz took it Sept. 1, and the subjects were all smiles.

The backstory is anything but. Lately the photographer to the stars has been embroiled in a financial mess that could lead to bankruptcy and the loss of her photographic catalog. The Obama photo was taken one week before Leibovitz's deadline to repay a $24-million loan to, as put it, "high-end artsharks Art Capital Group."

Apparently, she managed to extend the due date and retain control of her catalog, at least for now.

A spokesman said the White House did not pay for the photos but did provide "behind-the-scene access."


Neuman writes for The Times

Top of the Ticket, The Times' blog on national politics (, is a blend of commentary, analysis and news. These are selections from the last week.

Los Angeles Times Articles