Mrs. Biden’s Diary (March 4, 2009)

Dear Diary: Joe seems to be finally getting used to the Secret Service contingent assigned to him. He’s now referring to them as his “captive audience.” One of the agents has confided to me he thinks he has enough notes for a definitive history on the du Ponts in Delaware, just from riding in the limo with Joe a few times. It doesn’t seem to faze Joe that his secret service code name is Gumbumper. Personally, it’s a lot more colorful than mine—Whirlwind.

Joe is so sensitive worrying about all the inconvenience those agents are causing when he’s home for the weekend. He just hates to annoy people. Wish Hillary were more like that. On the other hand, I wish Joe would have been more like that when he was contemplating whether or not to get those hair plugs.

Joe made his second trip to Obama’s woodshed after a Cabinet meeting last week. When the news had broken that a fourth Obama appointment had tax problems, Joe apparently popped his brain clutch straight into second gear and piped up, “You know if we can fill all of Barack’s presidential appointments, we might collect enough in back taxes that we won’t have to raise any.” Joe says Barack doesn’t ever lose his cool during these Biden Bloopers, as the president has come to call them, “but just looks straight through you as if seeing some remote island on the horizon that he is picturing you abandoned on.”

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Michelle describes it a bit differently. She says that after Barack has spent time alone with Joe, he emerges with this expression on his face that is “a mix of wonder and perplexity, like when Barack is watching a National Geographic special on some exotic corner of the world.”

She told me the other day that Barack told her how Joe was explaining how math nerds call March 3, 2009, “square root day” because the number of the month and the day are each the square root of the last digit of the year. Michelle said Barack got that National Geographic look on his face and then he remarked how he wished Joe could apply all that encyclopedic energy to maybe just remembering the name of the dang website when he’s being interviewed on camera.

Joe said Barack asked him the other day for advice on dealing with Rush Limbaugh’s attacks. Joe said he was proud of himself that he didn’t use that, “He’s just not into you” crack that just about everyone on Barack’s staff had used after the Judd Gregg withdrawal. Instead, Joe told Barack, “Look, Mr. President, you’ve selected about a half dozen people who all wanted you to fail back during the campaign. And look where it got you.”

And Joe said Barack looked back at him, not with that “wish you were on an abandoned island look,” or even that “National Geographic stare,” but more with what Joe called a “cat that ate the canary look,” and said to Joe in a soft voice: “Exactly.”

Well, as the Secret Service says, “Gumbumper is on the move,” so I better close for now. Good night, dear diary.

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