Appearing on Oprah Winfrey's program today, Jill Biden, wife of Vice President-elect Joe Biden, suggested that her husband had been offered his choice of either the V.P. slot or the job of Secretary of State in the Obama administration.*SEE UPDATE BELOW
That's not the sort of information meant for public consumption, as Joe Biden quickly made clear: The soon-to-be-veep shushed his wife immediately after she made the statement, the Associated Press reports, prompting laughter from the audience.
Mr. Obama's onetime rival Hillary Clinton was eventually offered the secretary Of state job.
Jill Biden said during the couple's surprise appearance on Oprah that she preferred that her husband be vice president rather than secretary of state, since it would mean less travel.
"If you're secretary of state, you'll be away, we'll never see you, you know," she said, characterizing her conversation with her husband. "I'll see you at a state dinner once and awhile. But I said, if you are vice president, the entire family, because they worked so hard for the election, they can be involved. They can come to our home. They can go to events, they can be with us all the time. And that's what's important to us."
Biden didn't address his wife's comments, but did say he agreed to be Mr. Obama's running mate after being assured that the president-elect was not looking for a "yes man."
UPDATE, 4:40 PM: Biden spokesperson Elizabeth Alexander just sent reporters a statement insisting that "President-elect Obama offered Vice President-elect Biden one job only -- to be his running mate."
"Like anyone who followed the presidential campaign this summer, Dr. Jill Biden knew there was a chance that President-elect Obama might ask her husband to serve in some capacity and that, given his background, the positions of Vice President and Secretary of State were possibilities," Alexander said. "Dr. Biden's point to Oprah today was that being Vice President would be a better fit for their family because they would get to see him more and get to participate in serving more."