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Vice President Joe Biden has no problem with gay marriage, which is fine, until he blurts it out on a national news show. But then again Joe Biden is not the best at editing himself. He says what he means. And then he says those things he doesn’t mean. I think Biden even cringes at the things that usher out of his mouth. Over the years, he has described his boss as articulate, bright, clean, possessing a very big stick. This guy has single-handedly  allowed Daily Show writers to knock off early. He can be that funny. But a recent New York Times article also shares some of Joe’s undoubted strengths.

The president has come to appreciate Mr. Biden’s loyalty, tested over a whiplashing term, and has deployed him as a designated contrarian in debates. “There’s, I think, an institutional barrier sometimes to truth-telling in front of the president,” Mr. Obama said in a 2009 interview with The New York Times. “Joe, in that sense, can help stir the pot.”

Mr. Obama has also relied on his deputy for his political skills and complementary strengths. Mr. Obama might have “overestimated his own ability to engineer his own charm offensive, especially on the Hill,” said a former White House aide who asked not to be named while characterizing the president’s mind-set.

“The vice president is proof that to some degree the path to the new school goes through the old school,” said Jared Bernstein, a former top economic adviser to Mr. Biden. He refers to Mr. Biden as “an ambassador back to an earlier form of politics where relationship-building plays a key role.”


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