Vice President Biden gets a carefully administered moderate spanking in the New York Times this morning from unnamed White House sources:
[Biden] received a refresher course on Sunday after his comments about same-sex marriage on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Administration officials spent the next few hours attempting to “clarify” Mr. Biden’s remarks, setting off a new round of grumbling in the White House about Mr. Biden’s message indiscipline. “Not helpful” is how one top Obama aide put the episode.
As with any union of opposites, the one between the rambling vice president and his cautious boss has required time, patience and adjustments.
Early on, for instance, it would drive Mr. Obama nuts to stand onstage waiting for Mr. Biden to introduce every dignitary in the room. So the president dispatched a top adviser, Valerie Jarrett, to relay his displeasure to Mr. Biden’s office, according to top aides to both men. They initiated a fix: in future joint appearances, the president would remain offstage until the verbose vice president finished talking.
For his part, Mr. Biden was annoyed by what he regarded as a slight by Mr. Obama. When Mr. Biden curiously told House Democrats that even if the administration did everything right, “there’s still a 30 percent chance we’re going to get it wrong,” Mr. Obama responded to a reporter’s question by saying he did not know what Mr. Biden was referring to. He tacked on a “not surprisingly” for good measure.
At their next weekly lunch meeting, Mr. Biden complained that the quip was disrespectful, according to White House aides. Mr. Obama apologized but expressed his own frustration about Mr. Biden’s verbal misadventures — called “Joe bombs” by some staff members during the 2008 campaign. Advisers describe the session as a tense but necessary clearing of the air that allowed them to move forward.