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Joe Biden: "Speaker Boehner and I are Friends"

Joe Biden and John Boehner
Vice President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House John Boehner. AP/Charles Dharapak

In an interview on Thursday night, Vice President Joe Biden explained his seemingly chummy rapport with House Speaker John Boehner in Tuesday night's State of the Union address, noting that he considered Boehner a "friend" and a "good guy."

"Speaker Boehner and I are friends," Biden said, in an interview with Yahoo's Anna Robertson, who was asking the vice president questions submitted by online readers.

"Doesn't mean we're not going to have terrible and really hard fights coming up on policy," Biden continued. "You don't have to be disagreeable when you disagree. And part of changing the mood here is, have a healthy debate about our differences, but not personalize it."

Boehner and Biden, who shared the podium behind President Obama during the State of the Union, could at times be seen chatting during the president's speech.

"The essence of what I was saying was: 'John we've got a lot of work to do'; 'Did you hear that? That's a good idea the president just had there.' Joking back and forth a little bit about how we had to make things work," Biden said.

"I think he's a really good man. Hopefully this is the beginning of a change in tone again," Biden continued.

Biden also spoke on Thursday about the political situation in Egypt, where wide scale anti-government protests have broken out demanding the ouster of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. As of Thursday night, eight protesters and one police man had reportedly died as a result of the turmoil, and Internet service in Cairo was being systematically shut down.

When asked during an interview with PBS' "NewsHour," if the time had "come for President Mubarak of Egypt to go," Biden said "no."

"No. I think the time has come for President Mubarak to begin to move in the direction that - to be more responsive to some... of the needs of the people out there," said the vice president. "We're encouraging the protesters to - as they assemble, do it peacefully. And we're encouraging the government to act responsibly and - and to try to engage in a discussion as to what the legitimate claims being made are, if they are, and try to work them out."

He also declined to classify Egypt's president as a dictator.

"Mubarak has been an ally of ours in a number of things," Biden said. "And he's been very responsible on, relative to geopolitical interest in the region, the Middle East peace efforts; the actions Egypt has taken relative to normalizing relationship with - with Israel. ... I would not refer to him as a dictator."

"I think that what we should continue to do is to encourage reasonable... accommodation and discussion to try to resolve peacefully and amicably the concerns and claims made by those who have taken to the street," he continued. "And those that are legitimate should be responded to because the economic well-being and the stability of Egypt rests upon that middle class buying into the future of Egypt."

Biden also confirmed that he plans to remain on the ticket as Mr. Obama's running mate in the 2012 electoral campaign.

"He asked me if I would do that over a year ago," Biden told NewsHour's Jim Lehrer. "And I told him I would, yes."