President Barack Obama is giving his gaffe-prone sidekick, Joe Biden, a big public high-five on Wednesday, just as a new book skewers Biden and numerous White House aides for incompetence and military micro-management.
The White House’s daily schedule lists five events where Obama will share billing with the vice president and even says press photographers will be allowed to record the two men sitting down for lunch.
The schedule was released at 7:31 pm, after publications began excerpting portions of the new memoir by Obama’s former defense sectary, Bob Gates.
“I think [Biden] has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades,” Gates wrote in his book, “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War.”
“The President disagrees with Secretary Gates’ assessment — from his leadership on the Balkans in the Senate, to his efforts to end the war in Iraq, Joe Biden has been one of the leading statesmen of his time, and has helped advance America’s leadership in the world,” said the statement.
“President Obama relies on [the] good counsel every day” of statesman Joe Biden, it added.
The public embrace is very unusual. Biden is rarely given much billing in the White House’s schedules, and he is hardly ever photographed with Obama outside a major bill signing or ceremonial event.
Sometimes, Obama has deliberately distanced himself from Biden. During the 2012 campaign, Biden was temporarily sequestered after a series of smears and gaffes, including his claim to an African-American audience that the GOP candidate would enslave them.
But Obama’s embrace of Biden has a political purpose.
Biden and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are competing for the Democratic Party’s 2016 nomination.
Clinton is believed to be far ahead of Biden, but either politician would help Obama by cementing his regulatory policies if they were elected by the voters.
Gates’ new biography will make it even harder for Biden to keep up with Clinton.