Washington (CNN)Vice President Joe Biden said he played down his support of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden so he wouldn't overshadow President Barack Obama.
Joe Biden says he didn't want to steal spotlight after bin Laden raid
In an interview with CBS News that aired Monday, Biden said he didn't offer a definitive public stance before the 2011 mission in Pakistan to take out the terror leader.
But he suggested that afterward he told Obama privately to go for the raid -- and kept his advice secret to avoid appearing to take credit for the decision.
Previously, both Biden and Obama have suggested the vice president opposed the raid. Biden said in the interview those previous accounts didn't capture the whole story.
He said he avoided giving a "go" or "don't go" opinion in a meeting of Obama's top advisers ahead of the raid, but later told Obama to "follow your instincts" in a private conversation at the White House.
Last week Biden told an audience that he did counsel Obama to go forward with the raid during that one-on-one session.
"As we walked out of the room and walked upstairs, I said, I told him my opinion that I thought he should go but to follow his own instinct," he said on October 20.
Biden made those remarks as he was still deciding whether to mount a presidential bid. He said the next day he was sitting the 2016 race out.
In the CBS interview, Biden said a full accounting of his role in the bin Laden decision-making had never been aired before last week, leading to accusations he had altered his story.
"Everything I said was completely accurate," he said. "I just never until last Tuesday night told the whole story."
He said he hadn't disclosed his private advice to Obama to avoid any appearance he was boasting.
"Barack Obama made that decision knowing if it was wrong, his career was over. I wanted the public to know this is a man with a backbone of steel," he said. "That's why I said it. And had I said, but, by the way, when I went up privately I told him to go, it would look like I was self-aggrandizing."