The Hill has an extensive piece from “First in Line: Presidents, Vice Presidents and the Pursuit of Power” ….
The so-called bromance that developed between Joe Biden and Barack Obama is a rare phenomenon. Most relationships between presidents and vice presidents dissolve because of the pressure of the office, as was the case with George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, or they are pulled apart by a single betrayal, which is what happened to the genuine friendship between Bill Clinton and Al Gore. Obama and Biden’s relationship was, like all of them, “forged in fire,” but it was not consumed by the flames. And now it seems Biden intends to use his perch as a former vice president to try for his old boss’s job one last time.
At the beginning, Obama’s attitude toward Biden, according to Ron Klain, who was chief of staff to both Biden and Al Gore, was: “These are my things, I’m interested in your views, Joe, I like your input, I want you to be happy here, but you’re a guest in my house.” Mike Donilon, a longtime confidant of Biden’s, told me that “the vice presidency plays head games with you. You start to wonder if you matter that much.” It was a painful transition for a man who had spent thirty-six years in the Senate and served as chair of the Judiciary Committee and the Foreign Relations Committee. In an interview for my book “First in Line: Presidents, Vice Presidents and the Pursuit of Power,” Biden described falling on his sword time and time again to make the president look good. That is the job of the vice president, and Biden did it well. But it could end up costing him the presidency, the ultimate prize that he has already tried twice, in vain, to win….
Biden clearly wants to leave the door open for a 2020 run and wants to make it abundantly clear how different he is from Pence. “I think it’s the real him not taking on the president … when I saw Mike and his wife walk out of the NFL game, it may have been planned, but Mike probably thought they [the players] shouldn’t have been kneeling.” But Biden and Pence talk at least once a month, which stands in stark contrast to Trump and his predecessor, Obama, who have not spoken since the inauguration, nor have their wives, Melania Trump and Michelle Obama. Biden told me that Pence confided in him how much he admired his relationship with Obama. When Pence calls him it’s usually to ask questions about foreign policy. “Joe,” he says, “this is the decision that has to be made. What went before it?” Biden said he has made himself “available to him on mostly background things, to give him perspective.” Biden has long-standing friendships with foreign leaders from his years in the Senate and as vice president, and he frequently fields calls from worried heads of state. He says he is in touch with a dozen world leaders who ask for advice on how to work with the Trump administration and how to interpret new policies. “The king of Jordan comes to meet with him [President Trump] and gets in a helicopter to come meet with me in Delaware,” Biden said, sounding pleased….
President Trump’s unusual freewheeling governing style (he prefers his briefings kept to one page) has made Pence’s chief of staff take the unusual step of accompanying Pence to their weekly lunches. Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly also sits in as a de facto chaperone. Lunches between presidents and their vice presidents are so important to modern vice presidents precisely because they offer precious time when they can be alone and talk candidly with the president. But Trump and Pence need the conversation to be steered by Kelly and Ayers so that it does not get off track, and sometimes Ayers will interpret remarks Trump makes for Pence later on….
Biden and Obama are an exception to the rule and Biden clearly wants to make his position as an elder statesman doling out advice to the Trump administration clear. “You kind of fall in love with him [Biden],” an aide said, “and I think Obama did.”….