Vice President Biden touted his role in the White House, saying he spends between four and seven hours a day with President Obama.
In a Time magazine interview published Monday, Biden said the vice president holds no inherent power. Instead, the power emanates from his relationship with the president.
The vice president is considering a run for president in 2016, saying recently he would make a decision by the summer of next year. He said his responsibility during Obama’s second term has not changed.
When he was brought on as Obama’s vice presidential running mate, Biden said he had two conditions: He wanted to be the last guy in the room after meetings, and he wanted to take on assignments that had timelines to get done.
“Because the one thing you can do as vice president — by the way, there is no inherent power in the office of the vice presidency,” he said. “Zero. None. It’s all a reflection ... of your relationship with the president.”
Biden said he is always baffled when reports leak about his advice to the president, because it is given to the president in private.
“So after we do a national-security meeting, and I speak my mind there and the rest of everybody else does, I get to walk back up to the Oval with him and sit down,” he said. “And [that's] the reason why it always surprised me when everyone says they know what I advised the president. My final advice is always he and I alone.”
Biden has taken the lead on issues related to violence against women and law enforcement in general during his tenure, saying he usually has final say on the criminal-justice side of the budget.
In Obama’s State of the Union address, he tapped Biden to lead a jobs training initiative. Biden said most of the things the White House chooses to highlight get put on his desk.
“Those things that get pulled are usually things [that] get handed to me,” he said. “I’m going to say something self-serving — because I get along — I’ve never had a Cabinet secretary who’s gone “Whoa, whoa” — notwithstanding [former Defense Secretary Robert] Gates’ book — or has there ever been any kind of ‘What the hell’s he doing,’ because I’ve never, as I said, cut their grass.”