Talking Joe: Biden Makes News

Joe Biden hasn’t said much in public since the election, but one of Washington’s most prolific talkers is back – and making news whenever he speaks.

In fewer than five minutes on Tuesday, Biden criticized his own incoming Obama administration and disclosed information his aides have kept secret for security reasons.

And on Monday, Biden declared, “We’re at war!” and compared the economic turmoil to 9/11.

Team Obama kept Biden under wraps immediately after the election, but with his Senate swearing-in and upcoming Iraq trip, he’s back in front of the microphones.

Chatting with reporters after he was sworn in for a seventh term in the Senate, Biden called it “a mistake” that the Obama transition selected Leon Panetta as CIA director without consulting the Senate intelligence committee.

"I'm still a Senate man and I always think this way. I think it's always good to talk to the requisite members of Congress," Biden said. “I think it was just a mistake."

Biden then went on to reveal the key stops on his upcoming overseas trip with a Senate delegation – without even being asked.

“This will be my God-knows-how-many trips, I guess my 10th or 11th trip into Iraq and I don’t know how many times in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” Biden told reporters who had questioned him about what he expects to accomplish on his South Asia trip.

Just yesterday Biden’s Senate office took care to conceal these destinations, declaring in news release announcing his travels: “For security reasons, details of the delegation's itinerary will be released as the trip progresses.”

And on Biden’s criticism of the Panetta rollout, one transition official noted that President-elect Barack Obama and Biden were in agreement on the matter – both felt it should have been handled differently. Biden called Feinstein to apologize personally, and Feinstein said that Obama also had called to apologize.

The 9/11 comparison came during a closed-door meeting with lawmakers and Obama on Capitol Hill Monday, two sources familiar with the exchange told Politico.

His spokeswoman Elizabeth Alexander said Biden was referring to how Congress “came together and worked together for the sake of the country, that the Congress worked day and night to accomplish what was necessary.”

But Biden also leaned toward some stark imagery during an interview last month on ABC’s “This Week,” where he said a stimulus package was necessary to keep the economy from “absolutely tanking.”

The vice president-elect even displayed some of his classic flair in an event Monday night honoring Delaware Gov. Ruth Ann Minner.

He commended Minner for her service and “deep love, a deep deep love” for the state of Delaware, according to a local news report.

But then, the report says, Biden noted Minner’s sometime "vindictiveness” before calling her "a lady with a backbone like a ramrod."
  • CBSNews

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