Biden's Job: Talker in Chief

If there's one thing the famously long-winded Joe Biden knows how to do well, it's talk, and a New York Times report today indicates that his White House responsibilities match his talents. According to White House officials, Biden has taken on an influential role as one of Obama's closest advisers, lending an independent voice on a variety of issues, from foreign policy to the budget. Obama tells The New York Times that Biden “does a bunch of things that don’t show up in the stat sheet,” referring to the VP's limited set of formal responsibilities. Biden's influence was on display last week when Obama revealed a new strategy for Afghanistan reportedly guided heavily by the vice president's advice. He doesn't always get his way, however—after Biden pleaded for the White House to drop health care reform from this year's budget, Obama chose to make it a centerpiece instead.