“You all saw the man that I have sat with every day on average four to six hours a day,” Biden said on Wednesday, Politico reported.
More revelatory than the fact that Biden was pleased with Obama’s performance was this news that Biden spends “on average four to six hours a day” sitting with the president. I would wager that even Obama was not aware of this.
Fortunately, I was able to probe deeper.
Here is how this went.
Day 1: “Great that you’re president, huh?” Joe Biden says, sitting down.
“Yeah,” President Obama says.
“We’ll be seeing a lot of each other, huh?” Joe says.
“Sure will, Joe.”
“We’ll spend four hours a day together, I bet. Literally.”
Obama laughs. “Literally,” he says. “Good one. Good night, Joe.”
Day 8: Biden and Obama watch a football game together for almost four hours. They enjoy it tremendously.
Day 24: Biden and Obama go fishing. Eight hours.
Day 390: Joe Biden strolls into the Oval Office and flings himself into a chair.
“Don’t you have somewhere to be, Joe?” Obama asks, after two hours have elapsed.
“Not really,” Joe says.
They sit there in silence for two more hours.
Day 700: Alarmed by Biden’s constant, average presence, Obama tries to turn the tables.
Biden is taking a long shower as the president comes dashing in and makes a big show of sitting down on the sink.
“How does it feel, Joe?” he asks. “Huh? How does it feel to have someone sitting there while YOU’RE trying to go about your day? Huh? You need to quit this thing right now.”
Biden climbs out of the shower and reaches for a towel. “Did you say something, Mr. President?” he asks. “I can’t really hear when I’ve got the water on. Good to see you.”
Day 703: Obama plays a round of golf. Biden insists on caddying, even though the president repeatedly tells him, “No, Joe, really, I’ve got it.”
Day 974: Biden knows that he will spend the next week on the campaign trail so he spends 18 full hours sitting with Obama, just to keep the average up.
“Joe, this is getting to be a problem,” Michelle says, somewhere around Hour 17, kicking him by mistake as she tries for more of the blanket.
Joe sits there in silence for another hour.
Day 975: “Joe, Michelle and I didn’t get any sleep last night,” Obama tries, gently, touching Joe’s shoulder as they head towards the motorcade.
“You don’t understand,” Biden says, gazing defiantly at him. “I am the Cal Ripken of sitting with you for four to six hours on average every day. Don’t take this away, Mr. President.”
Joe sits there silently for four more hours.
Day 1003:Michelle and Barack celebrate their anniversary at an intimate candlelight dinner in a restaurant. They have expressly warned the Secret Service not to let “Celtic” follow them.
Midway through the soup course, Obama gestures and knocks over a potted plant to reveal Biden sitting there, cleverly disguised as a large fern.
“Joe — ” the president begins, in a feeble, broken voice.
“Mind if I just sit here for a bit?” Joe asks, pulling up a chair. “I still had two hours to clock in, according to my spreadsheets.”
The president sighs. “Sure, Joe,” he says. “Not a problem.”
Michelle glowers at him.
Day 1189: Joe Biden sits behind President Obama in debate prep room. “You’re going to do great, Joe,” he says, repeatedly, grinning at the mirror.
“Joe, please,” the president says. “This is distracting.”
Joe points knowingly at the mirror. “This guy,” he says. “Some veep, huh?”
“Joe — ” the president begins, in a strangled voice.
“Want a back rub?” Joe asks.
Joe sits there in silence for three hours.
Day 1200: President Obama, Malia, Sasha, and Michelle, along with Jill Biden, call a Family Conference.
“Joe,” President Obama begins, after a few false starts. “You are wanted and needed around here, but you have to stop sitting with me for hours every day. It’s giving us all the heebies.”
“Sure I will,” Joe says.
“Well, great,” Michelle says.
“That’s great, Joe,” Jill adds.
“I have homework,” Sasha says.
“I’ll come help you,” President Obama says, heading for the door.
“Me, too,” Joe cuts in. “I’m really good at algebra.”
Day 1217: President Obama, seated inside a barbed-wire “No Joe” perimeter with a large brown dog curled up in front of his desk, heaves a heavy sigh of relief at not having seen Biden in more than 20 hours. He is shaking all over. He drinks another Red Bull.
“Finally,” he says. “Finally. Joe’s finally taken the hint.”
The brown dog sits up and removes the head of its costume. “Did I hear someone mention me?” Biden asks, brightly.
Obama clutches the desk as the world swims before his eyes. “That’s it,” he murmurs. “That’s it, that’s it, that’s it! I’ve finally lost it!”
“Time for the first debate, sir,” a Secret Service agent announces, walking through several steel doors.
Day 1461, Wednesday: “You all saw the man that I have sat with every day on average four to six hours a day,” Joe Biden says.
Somewhere, President Obama starts shaking uncontrollably.