By Fox News Radio’s Eben Brown, at the White House
Vice President Joe Biden is in the fight of his life to salvage the domestic agenda he set forth four years ago when he and President Obama were sworn in.
With America on the brink of a third government shutdown in four years, Biden and his team are fighting hard to look forward while politicians debate the past.
Listen to the interview below:
A big problem for the Vice President is how much the President the Vice President shares happens to look a lot like the President they replaced when Barack Obama took office in 2009.
That President’s liberal agenda included big promises about fixing the economy, creating jobs, securing the border, and yes the Affordable Care Act. Biden had a lot riding on the project and his time in office continues to be defined by it.
So the Biden team had to take note of two key moments of political history from both the Democrat and Republican parties: the 2016 election, and the 2016 primary season.
In terms of the 2016 election, the Vice President watched with interest as Hillary Clinton worked the primary circuit while the President barely campaigned and tried to keep it clean.
In terms of the 2016 primary season, the VP had a perfect foil in Donald Trump.
Donald Trump unleashed a torrent of criticism against his campaign running mate and a visceral backlash when he lost the backing of his campaign chairman Reince Priebus after they were involved in an argument about the need to look forward.
Biden decided to go outside his comfort zone, choosing an issue of the day — in this case foreign policy– where he has been carefully dissected and lied about in his efforts to become president and look to the future.
The vice president knows the problem: the urgency created by the clock ticking on the clock created by gridlock in Washington, D.C. But he also knows if we don’t make a difference now, he can’t make a difference someday.
Last night the Vice President didn’t try to apologize for anything he said or did. And he didn’t offer any excuses. Instead, he said his guiding philosophy for seeking the job four years ago is the same guiding philosophy that has guided him since then. That is this: we can’t change what we can’t measure.
That doesn’t mean the vice president isn’t up for the fight on one front he can control: the rule of law. His Department of Justice has tried to bring criminal charges against the Kremlin for meddling in the 2016 election. His Justice Department is reportedly looking into WikiLeaks for the same thing.
Of course this action comes at a time when the president is campaigning in front of the camera in an effort to force the Justice Department to abandon its investigations.
Biden says he hopes this is not the direction that “our country takes.”
It’s hard to imagine the vice president with a uniform on boarding the Department of Justice plane when Jeff Sessions has to sign off on any action in that department.
Biden’s “One Nation” message, of a nation that works for everyone, rather than a single group, is likely a little different today. It’s a message being tested in Congress today when House Democrats are speaking out in hopes of defunding President Trump’s various immigration orders that were blocked in the courts.
But there is one thing the Vice President can control, a story-line he has been trying to tell for years and in this week’s State of the Union address. That is he’s working hard and putting energy into managing an administration that’s out of control.
He tried to pass the ball but the ball was thrown back to him. Biden admits to being frustrated at times, but not defeated.
During the State of the Union address, Joe Biden met with the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in a private meeting during which the Vice President received the same public endorsement for his acting as President he’s received here in the United States. The Israeli Prime Minister was in New York for the UN General Assembly meeting when his meeting with Biden was completed.
Biden, who started his career as a United States Senator, sits right next to the Prime Minister in the gallery of the United Nations.
The big moments are now. And it’s easy to see that in how difficult the Vice President is trying to answer some of the questions that have plagued and dominated the President’s time in office.
Joe Biden will return to the role he knows he can handle for as long as he wants. And a third and final presidential bid could certainly be in the future.
Listen to part one here: