Obama and Biden Cozy Up After Gates Memoir

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 8 2014 3:15 PM

President Obama and Vice President Biden Have Lunch, Let Press Take Pictures

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Vice President Joe Biden delivers a speech as President Barack Obama listens.

Photo by Frank Polich/Getty Images

The White House is still picking up the pieces after former defense secretary Robert Gates’ offered up some harsh critiques of the president and vice president in his new book, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War.

Along with his assertion that Obama was skeptical of his own strategy in Afghanistan, Gates seriously questioned Biden’s judgment. “I think he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades,” he wrote.

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The White House responded yesterday in a statement:

“The President disagrees with Secretary Gates’ assessment – from his leadership on the Balkans in the Senate, to his efforts to end the war in Iraq, Joe Biden has been one of the leading statesmen of his time, and has helped advance America’s leadership in the world. President Obama relies on his good counsel every day.”

But actions speak louder than words. Or, is a picture worth a thousand words? Well, the White House made good on both idioms today. From the morning briefing in the Oval Office to a Situation Room meeting in the afternoon, Vice President Joe Biden was at Obama’s side all day long. The two friendly statesmen even took time for lunch in the Private Dining Room, which was not very private after all – the event was open to press to take video and pictures.

The White House says the move was part of new media outreach effort to photographers. But the promise to allow freer access only goes so far. According to USA Today, no reporters were allowed at the Obama-Biden lunch.