Barack Obama 'questioned if Biden had the "fire" to be president' and Jill 'told complaining Joe to "grow up"'

BARACK Obama asked whether Joe Biden had the "fire" to be the next US President, reveals a new book on the Democratic White House contender.

And Jill Biden urged her whining husband to accept being Obama's vice-president, telling him to just "grow up", claims author and New Yorker reporter Evan Osnos.


The extraordinary revelations are contained in Osnos's new book, Joe Biden: The Life, the Run, and What Matters Now.

Commenting on Biden's aim to run for president, an unenthusiastic Obama apparently said in 2015: "I think that for both Joe and Hillary (Clinton), they've already accomplished an awful lot in their lives.

"The question is, do they, at this phase in their lives, want to go through the pretty undignifying process of running all over again?"

Obama added on Biden: "You have to have that fire in the belly, which is a question only Joe can answer himself."

Osnos says that, at one stage, Biden had the dubious reputation for being a "pompous blowhard".

In 1987, when Biden first ran for president, he "was regarded as a bit of an arrogant guy, a bit of a blowhard in a town, after all, that is known for blowhards".

He writes that Biden had, "the full package – the Ray-Ban aviators, the shameless schmaltz, the echoes of the Fonz".

This "produced a whiff of cult appeal such that his image came to have more in common with Betty White than John Boehner".


It didn't help that Biden had a poor reputation when it came to telling the truth – he was accused of plagiarizing a speech by former British politician Neil Kinnock.

Osnos writes: "The joke became that Joe Biden was not an authentic person.

"It took him a while to acknowledge that it was, as he later put it, his own arrogance that cost him that race."

Biden also has a "prickly side", according to the writer.

Finding it difficult to accept Obama's offer to become his Vice-President, Biden asked his wife, Jill, how would cope with taking orders.

After he said: "How am I going to handle this?", she recommended that he "grow up".

The book adds that when Obama told Biden how he hadn't expected them to become close friends, his Vice-President joked: "You're f****** surprised?"

Of the controversy over his son Hunter, the book describes Obama's team as 'bothered' and considered it 'unseemly' when he joined Ukrainian energy firm Burisma's board.

The author adds: "In the Spring of 2014 at the same time Biden was playing a central role in overseeing US policy in Ukraine, Hunter joined the board of Burisma, one of Ukraine's largest natural gas producers."

Hunter's appointment made it "harder to maintain a distance" between Biden's position as Vice President and his son's activities, explains Osnos.

Joe Biden is described as being extremely talkative.

Biden doesn't leave enough oxygen in the room for those who are polite and don't interrupt.

Osnos's book tells how a former British official, who attended White House meetings with talkative Biden, recalls him as being a "bit like a spigot [valve] that you turn on and can't turn off".

The insider adds: "For all of the genuine charm it's frustrating that you do feel as if he doesn't leave enough oxygen in the room for those who are polite and don't interrupt."

Award-winning Osnos joined The New Yorker as a staff writer in 2008 and covers politics and foreign affairs.

His new book is adapted from nearly a decade of his reporting for The New Yorker.

According to Amazon's description of the new book – released at the end of October – Biden has been called both the luckiest and the unluckiest man.

He's fortunate, for example, to have sustained a 50-year political career that reached the White House.

But the past five decades have also been marked by deep personal losses and disappointments that he has suffered.

Osnos's "portrayal illuminates Biden’s long and eventful career in the Senate and his eight years as Obama’s vice president", says the blurb.

It also delves into "his sojourn in the political wilderness after being passed over for Hillary Clinton in 2016, his decision to challenge Donald Trump for the presidency, and his choice of Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate.

"Osnos ponders the difficulties Biden will face if elected and weighs how political circumstances, and changes in the candidate’s thinking, have altered his positions," it adds.

 

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