Among the many tidbits tossed out in Sunday night's 60 Minutes interview with Barack Obama was the president's fairly strong endorsement of Vice President Joe Biden over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Here are two exchanges featuring Steve Kroft.
Steve Kroft: Do you agree with what President Clinton has said and Secretary Clinton has said, that this is not—not that big a deal. Do you agree with that?
President Barack Obama: Well, I'm not going to comment on–
Steve Kroft: You think it's not that big a deal–
President Barack Obama: What I think is that it is important for her to answer these questions to the satisfaction of the American public. And they can make their own judgment. I can tell you that this is not a situation in which America's national security was endangered.
Steve Kroft: This administration has prosecuted people for having classified material on their private computers.
President Barack Obama: Well, I—there's no doubt that there had been breaches, and these are all a matter of degree. We don't get an impression that here there was purposely efforts—on— in—to hide something or to squirrel away information. But again, I'm gonna leave it to—
Steve Kroft: If she had come to you.
President Barack Obama: I'm going to leave it to Hillary when she has an interview with you to address all these questions.
The term of art for Obama's verbiage is throwing her under the bus. Obama isn't gonna get involved, it's up to Hillary to "answers these questions to the satisfaction of the American public," don't you know. Or maybe to 60 Minutes, when they choose to grill her on the whole email scandal brouhaha.
Compare that sort of distancing gesture to when Kroft starts yapping about Joe Biden.
Do you want Joe Biden to get in the race and do it?
President Barack Obama: You know, I am going to let Joe make that decision. And I mean what I say. I think Joe will go down as one of the finest vice presidents in history, and one of the more consequential. I think he has done great work. I don't think there's any politician at a national level that has not thought about being the president. And if you're sitting right next to the president in every meeting and, you know wrestling with these issues, I'm sure that for him he's saying to himself, "I could do a really good job."
Well, what do you know? Biden is "one of the finest vice presidents in history" and when Obama challenges Weird Uncle Joe, he's "sure" that he believes, "I could do a really good job."
Of course, Biden has yet to decide (and I'll be back later today with some reasons why Biden would be a truly awful president). But there's no doubt on whose side Obama is lining up.