August 27, 2008 |
The Foreign Relations Committee is hardly the most popular Senate panel. Many senators shun what they see as all talk and no action -- no pork-barrel projects for constituents or popular tax cuts to write into law. But it was on this somewhat esoteric panel that the fast-rising junior senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, forged a relationship with his future running mate, Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware. Perhaps oddly, it was the committee's senior Republican, Sen. Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, who helped foster the friendship between the two Democrats.
August 27, 2008 |
Jill Biden was teaching in a locked psychiatric unit at the Rockford Center in Delaware when one of her teenage students started spiraling out of control. He was on his feet, aggressive and abusive. In back of the class, a burly aide sprang up, ready to intervene. Biden shot him a look that said, "Wait." In just a few moments, the situation was defused without disruption or force. "She was able to talk that kid back into the appropriate behavior, and she did it by conveying that she understood how he was feeling," said Dana Garrett, the aide, who vividly remembers the incident two decades ago. "She didn't have an air of status about her. Someone else had to tell me she was the wife of the senator."
August 26, 2008 |
The publisher of Sen. Joe Biden's memoir, an instant bestseller for the presumed vice presidential nominee, is being reissued in paperback with a first printing of 100,000. According to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks about 70% of sales, "Promises to Keep" had sold only 15,000 copies before last weekend's announcement that Sen. Barack Obama had chosen Biden as his running mate. The memoir from Random House Publishing Group quickly reached the top 25 on Amazon.com and was out of stock as of Monday.
August 26, 2008 |
SOMETIMES life really does imitate art. As the Democratic National Convention was kicking off, actor Richard Schiff, who played the White House communications director on "West Wing," was holding court with a pack of reporters on a concrete version of a red carpet outside of a restaurant here. The Emmy Award-winning actor was completely at ease talking about real-life politics and his favorite politician, Sen. Joe Biden. Schiff met Biden several years ago and immediately saw him as the "real deal."
August 25, 2008 |
Spend a few hours with Sen. Joe Biden on a train, plane or automobile and try to squeeze a word in now and then. No easy thing. Barack Obama's pick for vice president is a talker. In a business that attracts and rewards the loquacious set, the Delaware senator's verbal output is a Capitol Hill legend. So notorious is he for windy soliloquies that Biden was asked in a presidential debate last year whether he was, in essence, a gaffe waiting to happen. Would he be able to restrain himself on the world stage, where ill-chosen words can create real trouble?
July 7, 2008 |
Spend a little time with Barack Obama on his wide-open vice president hunt. There are plenty of plausible candidates, and the eventual choice could easily be somebody nobody is talking about. Why the unpredictability? In part, it's because a veep search usually focuses on the runner-up in the primary, but in this case almost nobody believes the runner-up will get chosen. But the main reason is that Obama is an unconventional candidate. He has novel strengths -- enormous appeal to the young, African Americans and some crossover Republicans -- and he also has potential weaknesses with usually solid Democratic Party constituencies: white blue-collar Democrats, women and Jews.