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Biden says he'll be different vice president

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  • Joseph Biden says he told Barack Obama he wanted to be in on critical decisions
  • U.S. combat forces will be out of Iraq within two years, Biden says
  • On lighter note, Biden says his puppy will be named by Christmas morning
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(CNN) -- In an interview with CNN's Larry King that will air at 9 p.m. ET Monday, Vice President-elect Joseph Biden discussed what role he will play in decision-making at the White House. Biden also said the U.S. will remove combat troops from Iraq within two years.

Vice President-elect Joseph Biden says he was asked to submit his recommendations for Cabinet posts.

Vice President-elect Joseph Biden says he was asked to submit his recommendations for Cabinet posts.

Below is an edited transcript of the "Larry King Live" interview, which was taped in advance:

Larry King: What kind of vice president will you be? There are many kinds of vice presidents. There is the [Walter] Mondale brand, the [Al] Gore brand, the [Dick] Cheney brand. What's the Biden brand?

Joe Biden: Well, I think the Biden brand is going to be as different as all three of those you suggested in the sense that, look, Larry, I think that the role of the vice president is determined in large part by his relationship with the president and the circumstances that administration finds themselves in.

And so when Barack [Obama] asked me about what I expected in return for accepting, if I accepted, what -- I said I want to be there when you make every critical decision you make. I want to be in the room. Video Watch Biden talk about his role in the administration »

Because I have a significant amount of experience. I'd like to be able to give my input. You're president, if you conclude my judgment is not the right judgment, I abide by that, but I want an opportunity to have an input.

King: Have you been consulted on every Cabinet post announced?

Biden: Yes. As a matter of fact, I've been more than consulted; I've been asked to submit my own recommendations. I've been there at the table with a small group of people when each of these Cabinet potential nominees have been debated.

Biden on 'Larry King'
Joseph Biden tells CNN's Larry King how he wants to change the role of vice president
Tonight, 9 ET

King: On Friday, the president approved $13 billion bailing out GM and Chrysler. Ford has just asked to sort of have standby money available if ready. What did you make of that?

Biden: Well, I think the president did the right thing in acting. Barack and I both thought that it was necessary -- we had hoped that the Congress would act but that got blocked by -- it got blocked by our Republican colleagues, and here's the point though the president, President Bush has said -- and there is only one president at a time so we can't micromanage his package, [Bush's] said that he has put [Obama] in the position where [the automakers] will be able to go through March but that ultimate test is viability, meaning at the end of that time, will they have restructured their companies in a way that you can -- a reasonable person can take a look at what they are proposing, what they have done, that they are likely to be financially solvent in the out years?

And that's going to require the companies getting all the stakeholders together. Not just the management but labor but as well as the dealerships, parts suppliers and everyone. And it's going to require some sacrifices on everyone's part in order to get to that point.

King: When do we get out of Iraq?

Biden: We get out of Iraq -- we will be out of Iraq within the next two years, our combat forces.

Barack Obama made a commitment during the campaign he would do that. You now have the president of the United States ... George W. Bush, having negotiated a status of forces agreement; they call it a SOFA, which calls for the withdrawal of combat troops from cities within a time frame and also drawing down within the next year and a half all the combat troops.

There is a slight difference in the exact number ... Barack talked about and the administration negotiated, but it's all within the same ballpark.

King: What happens in Afghanistan?

Biden: Well, Afghanistan is a lot tougher, Larry. We're being left a very, very difficult situation. I have been on your show in the past and others in pointing out as a senator and as a candidate how we have neglected Afghanistan in my view.

We haven't provided sufficient economic resources. We've not insisted that the world community keep their commitment to rebuilding Afghanistan, working on governance in Afghanistan, training people to be able to literally know how to run their city councils, etc, and town -- and trial organizations, and we've had insufficient number of forces because they've been diverted to Iraq.

And Barack Obama during the campaign as well as others of us running, but Barack and I in the campaign -- once he chose me after the nomination, after the convention -- have been pointing out that one of the reasons to draw down additional troops in Iraq beyond the necessity to do it on its own was we need to be able to deploy more troops immediately to Afghanistan to help stabilize it.

King: So what do you make of the thought of Caroline Kennedy coming to the Senate?

Biden: Well, I have to admit to you I'm a big Caroline Kennedy fan. I -- I think she is a wonderful person. And -- but literally, Larry, I -- for me to suggest to the governor of the state who he should pick is just -- it's beyond my purview.

And here's the deal. You know, when people talk about the Kennedy dynasty or whatever, whoever gets picked in New York state is going to have to stand before the people of New York in the next 20 months or so, or less -- yes, I mean, yes, that's about right, 20, 21 months.

And so, you know, that will be the ultimate test. And ... personally, I feel a great affection to -- for Caroline Kennedy.

King: There has been much controversy over the selection of Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at the inaugural.

He's been a guest on this show an awful lot, and he supported California's Proposition 8, a measure that outlaws gay marriage. He is also very opposed to abortion. I know the gay community in America appears to be up in arms. What do you make of this?

Biden: Well, I'd make of it [as] Barack Obama keeping his commitment.

Barack Obama said you've got to reach out. You've got to reach a hand of friendship across the aisle and across philosophies in this country.

We can't continue to be a red and blue country. We can't be divided like we have been. And he's made good on his promise.

And I would say to the gay and lesbian community, they have nothing to worry about. Barack Obama, every aspect of his life, every aspect of his public life, and every commitment he's made relating to equality for all people, will be things that he will stick with and that they should view this in the spirit in which he offered the opportunity to -- to Mr. Warren.

King: Who will swear you in?

Biden: Justice [John Paul] Stevens, the -- the senior member of the court. I was extremely flattered that he -- he was willing to do that. And so that's who will swear me in.

King: Have you named your puppy? This is big news.

Biden: No, but I -- my -- but my granddaughters have decided they're going to tell me what that name is, and I'm going to know it Christmas morning. They've already floated a number of names. They're literally on the phone -- my two middle ones -- calling their aunts and uncles and bouncing names off them. So this has become a very serious project.

King: And you beat your president to it.

Biden: Well, I didn't mean to beat my president to it. Well, we still have one to go. We had -- what the public doesn't know is that, because it's been amazing the interest it's generated, I have always had German shepherds from the time I was a kid through my adulthood. And I've trained them, and I've worked with them.


King: In your book, you say a question you got from people a lot during the campaign was, "Are we going to be OK?" So I'll ask it of you.

Biden: Yes, we are. We're going to be OK, not because of Barack Obama and Joe Biden. We're going to be OK because of the American people. They have more grit, determination and courage than you can imagine.

All About Joseph BidenBarack ObamaIraq WarAfghanistan War

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