Is Rahm Emanuel in love with Joe Biden? The current issue of Time includes the magazine’s "Time 100," a list of the most influential people in the world. To Rahm’s undoubted disappointment, he’s not one of them. That happens when you leave Washington, D.C., to become a local political hack. But Rahm was asked to write an essay about someone more influential than himself: the vice president.
Vice President John Nance Garner once described his job as not being worth “a bucket of warm [urine].” According to Emanuel, the vice presidency is more often like a marriage between two people who get caught fooling around in a car by an angry father. Emanuel ran with that cliche, and came up with a few more of his own.
The partnership between any President and Vice President is like a shotgun wedding: Sometimes it works well. Most of the time, it does not. But the relationship between Barack Obama and Joe Biden is as successful a public partnership as I have ever seen.
They began as rival politicians who merged to form a ticket, which is not a prescription for harmony and close cooperation. But in my two years in the White House, I saw these onetime rivals become solid allies and then close friends. I saw a deep bond of trust grow between them, forged in a crucible of crisis.
Biden, 68, has been a wise counselor — unfailingly frank with the President behind closed doors and unwaveringly loyal on the public stage.
With 36 years of experience in the U.S. Senate and a wealth of relationships and insight, Biden has been an invaluable lieutenant on a wide variety of issues. And the President has trusted him with some of the most critical assignments, from the $787 billion Recovery Act to the transition in Iraq.
This is one shotgun wedding that works.
Maybe Emanuel is so fond of Biden because they bonded during a SuperSoaker fight early in the Obama Administration.
Unfortunately, Biden hasn’t been returning the love. On a recent trip to Moldova, he told a crowd that Emanuel and Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman both have Moldovan grandparents. Then he said, “I know this isn’t on the teleprompter, but she’s a heck of a lot better looking than Rahm Emanuel.”
Buy this book! Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland's book, Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President , is available Amazon. Young Mr. Obama includes reporting on President Obama's earliest days in the Windy City, covering how a presumptuous young man transformed himself into presidential material. Buy it now!