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July 6th, 2010
09:48 AM ET

Letters to the President #533: 'Biden time'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Foreman: Biden's 'lack of apparent calculation is refreshing against the backdrop of DC where it seems like every Tom, Dick, and Harry Reid weighs each public gesture and facial expression as if they are members of a Kabuki theater group.'

Foreman: Biden's 'lack of apparent calculation is refreshing against the backdrop of DC where it seems like every Tom, Dick, and Harry Reid weighs each public gesture and facial expression as if they are members of a Kabuki theater group.'

Reporter's Note: I have never before written so many letters to one person. Heck, I’ve never even kept a diary or journal for more than a couple of weeks. So, I’m just saying…well, I don’t know what I’m saying except here’s my latest letter to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Dear Mr. President,

Your Vice President, Joe Biden, has undeniably been something of a loose cannon since the day you took the oath; periodically going off-message like Robin Williams on a Late Show tear, flinging the odd profanity over the open mic like an unexpected firework, and generally making your press people twitchy.

Good. You need that. His lack of apparent calculation is refreshing against the backdrop of DC where it seems like every Tom, Dick, and Harry Reid weighs each public gesture and facial expression as if they are members of a Kabuki theater group. Which, I guess, they are.

In contrast, VP Biden’s visit to Iraq over the holiday weekend seemed to display interest in something more than just a photo op. Oh sure, there was plenty of gripping and grinning, but beyond that; he spoke firmly and passionately about the need for the Iraqis to form a successful government, and about the US commitment to withdraw combat troops while maintaining overall support for the efforts of Iraqis. (Although, I must say that has always been a little disingenuous. “Combat troops” is nothing but a tricky substitute for “some troops;” a slick way of getting around the earlier implication that you intended to get us out of that war altogether. The tens of thousand of troops who remain behind will still be in harm’s way, and will still have to fight if fighting comes around, and frankly to suggest that any American troop is not a “combat” person is an insult to all members of our military.)

Mind you, having followed the progress of this war and of the fledging government there rather closely, I am not the least bit convinced that all of this is going to play out the way you might wish. But when Veep Biden speaks, I more often feel like I am at least hearing what he actually thinks rather than some carefully constructed PR statement, and that gives me a strange sort of confidence; much more so than all those squishy, non-specific statements we usually get out of the Capitol crowd.

I loved the part where he told the Iraqis, “I’m not lecturing, I’m not imparting any great wisdom that you don’t already know, but the idea of subordinating your individual interest is fundamental to the success of any nation.” Good message there: Take care of the country and let re-election and power-distribution take care of themselves. Now if only we could get some leaders here to listen. Ha!

You should call me today if you get a chance. I’m busier than I’ve been in ages, and that’s saying something, but I’d love to catch up and it seems like forever since we’ve talked, because of course…it has been.

Btw, I enjoyed a plate of leftovers from the weekend for dinner. Little flags and stars, mixed with broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, and olives. Think about it: Our founding fathers and mothers risked their land, their liberty, and their lives to gain freedom from England, and we now commemorate that marvelous accomplishment in pasta! What a country!

Regards,
Tom

Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

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