Biden determined to shrink US vice-president's role

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Washington, Dec.15 (ANI): Incoming US Vice-President Joe Biden is reported to be laying out plans to significantly shrink the role of the vice presidency in Barack Obama's White House.

An official familiar with his thinking told Politico, that Biden won't sit in on Senate Democrats' weekly caucus meetings, won't have an office outside the House floor, will not begin every day with his own intelligence briefing before sitting in on the president's, will not always be the last person Obama speaks to before making a decision.

He also will not, as a transition official calls it, operate a "shadow government" within an Obama administration.

One of the few ways he will resemble Cheney is in making clear his future ambitions, or lack thereof.

Biden doesn't expect to run for president after leaving the vice presidency, according to a transition source who was not authorized to speak on the record.

"What he has said previously is that Vice President Cheney had an overly expansive view of the vice president, almost created like a shadow government inside the White House," said the transition official familiar with Biden's role.

"Vice President-elect Biden has a very strong view that the vice president's role is to be an adviser to the president and to be a member of the president's team, and that's how he's going to be in the job."

Cheney made clear he had no intention of succeeding President George W. Bush, which along with his expanded role contributed to his almost unparalleled freedom to act - pushing controversial positions on torture, energy policy and Iraq, knowing he'd be spared facing voters to explain his actions.

But Cheney also had Bush, who gave his more seasoned No. 2 broad sway - with a particular emphasis on foreign policy, where Cheney already had a well-established portfolio as a former defense secretary during the Gulf War.

Obama has shown no inclination to do the same for Biden.

In fact, Biden's goal of restoring the office to its "traditional role" is something he and Obama agreed on before the Delaware senator was named to the Democratic ticket, the transition official said.

As part of that understanding, Biden is unlikely to have a specific docket of issues.

"If Joe were unhappy or feeling left out of this thing, I could tell it just by looking at him," said Biden's close friend Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut.

"My sense is that Joe's involved in everything and he hasn't been pigeonholed," Dodd added.

So far, Biden has offered Obama advice and recommendations for appointees he's made so far, but the president-elect's cabinet is certainly not stocked with Biden allies.

In short, Biden will be no Dick Cheney - who redefined the office of the vice presidency to gather unprecedented influence and reach. (ANI)

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