- Biden thinks he can accomplish something as head of Obama's jobs task force
- Administration doesn't want to "cause more problems for John Boehner" on immigration
- On campaigning for Democrats: "The American public agrees with us on the issues"
Vice President Joe Biden doesn't typically leave much off the table. But, in a wide-ranging interview with Kate Bolduan on CNN's "New Day," he had more to say than we've heard yet on everything from immigration and midterm elections to the most popular question of any political interview these days -- plans for 2016. Here's what we learned from the interview:
1. A task force isn't just a task force: He's the Vice President in an administration resorting to executive action to keep itself relevant after what has become a long list of bruising losses since Democrats lost their pull in Congress in 2010.
When Bolduan asked Biden what could really come out of his new role as head of a jobs task force, he defended himself: "Some of the stuff we did, major change came out. The Recovery Act and a whole range of other things."
Lackluster response, you say? It's easy to think back to the 2013 State of the Union address -- where he rose with the President to grand applause as Obama said: "The families of Newtown deserve a vote." This, of course, followed by a Biden-led task force that was followed with, yes, a vote. But a vote that failed.
So, what's the point here? This is something he thinks he can accomplish, is passionate about and will translate to voters. If anything, he is arguing that a vice president who has run twice for the presidency is not worth writing off -- just yet.
2. Biden wants to give Boehner a break: House Speaker John Boehner may have come out putting the ax to immigration reform for this year, but Biden isn't ready to give up yet. Biden said Boehner is "getting, understandably, not a criticism, a great deal of pressure from the right that wants no part of this. I think he'll work his way through this. I still think we can get this done. It doesn't take much time."
More importantly, he said the administration doesn't want to "create more problems for John Boehner."
"I think no matter what we said, it would impact the internal dynamic and politics in the Republican caucus. We should let them figure their caucus out," the Vice President said.
So, whether he is a self-proclaimed optimist or just highly unrealistic, there's an element here of understanding after what seems to be years of deadlock and impasse. But, does this leave enough room for Republicans to come back to the table? We'll see.
3. Biden still is the popular kid -- just maybe not on the campaign trail: Biden is completely aware that the President and some of his policies have seen some record unpopularity over the past few months. And, just as he and the President are set to address the House Democratic retreat next week, he tells us exactly how big of a role they'll play when it all comes down to the wire next fall.
"I've been invited to go into well over 128 races so far. And so there are some places the President is considerably more popular than I am, but there's some places where I can go in and the President can't," he said. "There are some places where it makes no sense for me to go in or for the President to go in."
Regardless, his shining optimism prevails: "I think we are in the best shape we can be, because the American public agrees with us on the issues."
4. Classic Biden: What one might call a gaffe, others might call it a gift.
Biden says what he feels, when he feels like it, at little expense. The best examples come from our interview and remarks he made preceding it. Biden said the "one overwhelming reason" not to run for president would be the chance to get back behind the wheel of his Corvette: "I'd like to get that Z06 with 0 to 60 in 3.4 seconds."
When Bolduan asked about the Corvette comment, he said, "Now you've hit my sweet spot."
This, on top of calling New York's LaGuardia Airport a "third world country" as part of the "embarrassing" and "stupid" infrastructure left in America. He is treading a line that has become so critical to any politician repeatedly thrust into the spotlight.
So, what's the cost? Everything he says could show up in an opponent's campaign ads.
Then, what's the gain? No one said it better than CNN's John King on "New Day" Friday morning: "Joe Biden is a BFD in politics for a reason -- he's the gift that keeps on giving." He went on to say, "Love him or hate him, what you see is what you get."
5. Joe Biden wants to be president: Last, and as noted above most important to the immediate news cycle and onward: Biden said he can't give a good reason not to run for president. There is no "obvious reason."
But some would remind Biden of a couple: Hillary Clinton is burying him in many of the most recent polls. Healthcare.gov could haunt him in any future political endeavor to come. (Yes, Joe -- health care is a BFD, but the D is still to be determined.)
But we know one thing for sure -- summer 2015 is when we'll get our answer.