The time: August 2008. The place: Wilmington's (Del.) famous and much-envied suburbs. Several TV networks have dispatched reporters and cameras to wait outside the family home of then-Sen. Joe Biden (D), because at any moment, he might be tapped to be then-Sen. Barack Obama's (D-Ill.) running mate.

After days of tedium, Biden emerges to tell reporters that he is "not the guy."

As history and The Onion record, Biden was the guy. But he chose not to give the scoop to one of the papparazi. In such a situation, powerful political figures never do that.

So here's the natural question: Why are reporters staking out Biden's home again to see if he makes news? Theoretically, sure, he could bolt to Air Force Two (still an hour left to do so). Realistically, he can trap reporters in a nether zone of tedium. Scott Goss reported on some of it for the News Journal:

Just after 11 a.m., the pack gave chase as the vice president’s motorcade pulled out of the driveway, only to later find themselves watching a cross-country meet where Biden cheered on his granddaughter.
After his return home, they resumed their roadside perch. But gradually, one by one, they peeled off, lulled into a drowsy stupor by the warm sunshine on a early autumn day.

On Tuesday, the New York Times's Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman drew from on-the-scene reporting to confirm that Biden did not really enjoy being followed around.

As he attended a granddaughter’s cross-country race in Wilmington, Del., last weekend, Mr. Biden brushed past a reporter who asked about his presidential plans. “Get out of my way, will you?” he said.
He said it playfully, with a smile on his face, and yet there was a little edge there, too.

Not since the heydays of the Greek Olympics has a footrace been so storied, so well-recorded.

Look: Biden did this to himself, with his epic dither on whether to allow the Democratic Party to nominate him for president. And no one in the media should want to sit around and wait for a press release before lobbing a question.

But just as Paul Ryan avoided spoiling the news of his 2012 V.P. nod by going incognito underneath a baseball cap -- just as Joe Biden was able to tell a white lie to waiting reporters -- proximity to a newsmaker might not lead to, you know, the news.