Player of the week: Vice President Biden

Vice President Biden was admittedly apprehensive about serving as President Obama’s deputy. After all, he said years ago, he’d never had a boss before.

But by and large, Biden has been an asset to Obama. During the 2008 campaign, he helped subdue lack-of-experience criticism aimed at the Illinois senator. While Republicans repeatedly mocked Obama’s foreign-policy credentials, they could not direct that kind of fire at Biden, who served as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.

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Still, there has been tension between Obama and Biden. The ex-Delaware senator shoots from the lip, sometimes ineffectively, and that has sometimes bothered his boss, both on the campaign trail and during the past three years.  

Biden, who will turn 69 next month, has not ruled out a presidential bid in 2016. That’s a long way off, but he knows that he will have no shot of becoming commander in chief unless Obama is a two-term president.

Three years ago, Obama pulled away from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) after the financial implosion. Biden put his foot in his mouth a few times, but it didn’t matter.

The Obama-Biden team seems highly unlikely to win 365 electoral votes, as they did last time. They’ll be happy if they get the bare minimum of 270.

The veep has shown again and again that he can’t be controlled, can’t be managed, can’t be handled. And Obama knows it.

Addressing 200 people gathered at a Chicago fundraiser last month, Biden said, “The president said, ‘Look, Joe, just go be Joe.’ So he let me loose.”

Biden will undoubtedly be an effective attacker on the campaign trail, which will be dominated by debates on jobs and the ailing economy. But he will also serve as a key Obama adviser in the coming months on the many thorny foreign-policy issues facing the U.S. in Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Libya and Afghanistan.