You got me at “Sorry I’m Late”

From an upcoming Newsweek article.  Sure, this could all be spin, and if it is, I am sure it will be refuted quickly.   Wow.

Biden, who had stayed neutral in the Democratic primaries after dropping out in January, told Obama that he was “ready to be second fiddle” and sought no specific portfolio–but only if he got a guaranteed hourlong, one-on-one session with the president every week (like Al Gore’s lunches with Bill Clinton, and George H.W. Bush’s with Ronald Reagan) and a presence at all important meetings. Obama said yes, that he wanted him for his judgment and for his help in enacting a big legislative agenda. And so the job was defined: “My role will be to say, ‘Boss, here’s the way I’d go about it’.”

Biden says Obama reminds him of Bill Clinton in his “confidence, cognitive ability, judgment” and intellectual security–that he can listen and absorb advice without having to prove he’s the smartest person in the room, a critical leadership skill. He says he experienced an “epiphany” during a recent conference call on the bailout bill with Bob Rubin, Paul Volcker, Warren Buffett, Paul O’Neill, Joseph Stiglitz, Larry Summers and Laura Tyson. “He [Obama] comes on the call and says, ‘Well, folks, sorry I’m late. I’ve got four questions.’ He was in total frigging command! Here’s a 47-year-old guy in one of the most complicated economic dilemmas anyone has had to face since 1929 to ’33. And it was like, ‘Bang! Bang! Bang!’ I called him afterward and said, ‘You sold me, sucker!’ “

I’ve been hearing more and more stories like this.  As I keep telling people, experience is important, but leadership ability and demonstrated intelligence are the imperatives.

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