In a lot of White House assignments in past administrations, the Vice President got the jobs the top man didn’t want and didn’t think too terribly important…
Vice President-elect Joe Biden will oversee a task force that will make recommendations on how to build the ranks of the middle class, that ambiguously defined segment of society in which most Americans identify themselves.
Biden said the task force will include other Cabinet members and it will present President-elect Barack Obama with a package of proposals designed to ensure the middle class is “no longer being left behind.”
“We’ll look at everything from college affordability to after-school programs, the things that affect people’s daily lives,” Biden said during an interview to be broadcast Sunday on ABC’s “This Week”.
By KEVIN FREKING, Associated Press Writer
US Vice President Joe Biden gestures while US President Barack Obama signs an Executive Order in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building January 21 in Washington, DC.(AFP/Getty Images/Brendan Smialowski)
Vice President-elect Joe Biden listens as President-elect Barack Obama makes remarks.(AP Photo)
Overseeing a task force has become tradition for vice presidents. Dick Cheney led a task force on energy. Al Gore had the task of reinventing government. George H.W. Bush, while serving as Ronald Reagan’s vice president, oversaw a task force charged with reducing government regulation. While all of those efforts resulted in some accomplishments, it’s also clear that the issues they confronted were so large and systemic that many could and did question the progress they made.
Biden said the measure of economic success in an Obama administration would be whether the middle class was growing. He said Obama planned to announce the formation of the task force later Sunday.
Even as he discussed the new job, Biden took care to define his role as vice president as going beyond a particular task. He said that when he discussed the job with Obama during the campaign, he told Obama he didn’t “want to be the guy that goes out and has a specific assignment.” Rather, he wanted to have a voice in every matter of importance.
“I said I want a commitment from you that in every important decision you’ll make, every critical decision, economic and political as well as foreign policy, I’ll get to be in the room,” Biden said.
He said that Obama agreed and has adhered to that commitment.
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