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Ticket Replay: Joe Biden update: No 'private meetings,' just meetings closed to the press

Democrat vice president Joe Biden either getting on or off of Air Force Two

As the holiday season arrives, our thoughts on The Ticket turn to working not quite so hard for a few days. So we are re-publishing some of our favorite or most-read items from 2009. This item originally appeared on July 10.

Possibly a very important policy change quietly emerged in the daily schedule of Vice President Joe Biden today.

Loyal Ticket readers know that, as a patriotic duty, we monitor the longtime senator's schedule with a close eye for detail because, after all, this man is only a heartbeat away from having to give a toast at a G-8 summit. We've especially noted Biden's innumerable  "private meetings" that are closed to the press because, well, they're private.

And we've wondered aloud how this Democratic VP's private meetings with unnamed people on unnamed subjects differs from the private meetings with unnamed people that his evil predecessor had that got so many Democratic senators and representatives worried about nefarious secrets.

On one recent long weekend, the man who became a Delaware senator when his future boss, Barack Obama, was an inexperienced fundraiser of only 11, devoted an entire Monday to "private meetings" that are closed press in his Delaware home.

If that isn't dedication for the $208,000 salary.

Well, today's schedule, unlike many at the end of Biden's work weeks, contains no "private meetings." Not one.

Having spent Thursday traveling and successfully selling the nation on the so far hard-to-detect effects of the $787-billion Obama administration economic stimulus spending plan that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave them, Biden will show up for work around 11 today.

He'll join Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a roundtable to discuss only the rising costs of healthcare for people who own or work for small businesses. One suspects the absent president's ambitious plan to spend billions more to impose his healthcare reforms might also be mentioned.

OK, so figure an hour for the roundtable, maybe 75 minutes max. You can only talk about that stuff so long before requiring healthcare yourself. Fifteen minutes for handshaking, cellphone photos and congratulations on the excellent roundtable. The VP should be outta there by 12:30.

That leaves -- what? -- five, maybe six hours to make it a seven-hour workday.

According to the White House schedule, Biden will not spend the remainder of the workday in private meetings that are closed press.

Instead: "The Vice President will spend the remainder of the day in meetings that are closed press."

You get the difference, right?

(Friday UPDATE 7 p.m.: According to the VP's weekend schedule, if you need to reach him about the stimulus plan or something, both days he will be in Delaware where "There are no public events scheduled." No public mention of private meetings.)

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Getty Images

 
Comments () | Archives (2)

The comments to this entry are closed.

I think in the 4th graf: "closed press" should be "closed to press" or "closed to the press". Or is "closed press" some kind of jargon I've never heard of?

Never mind, it appears "closed press" IS jargon in current use. It sounds like a corruption to my ears, but it's not an obvious error.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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