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Joe Biden update: He meets on transparency today. But the meeting is closed


Everybody should just relax and take it easy.

Unsubstantiated rumors that Vice President Joe Biden had suddenly gone a little loopy and ordered some of his official meetings opened to at least cursory public or media attention were just that -- unsubstantiated rumors.

After a recent public sighting, fears had mounted that the one-time, long-term senator might rebel against traditional White House strictures and start acting on all the administration's oft-promised promises of government transparency and official openness running back into 2008.

But the VP's public schedule today puts all those fears to rest.

In fact, loyal Ticket readers will recall that one day last summer with no advance warning whatsoever Biden's official White House schedule changed from listing frequent "private meetings" to listing frequent meetings that are "closed press." Was this dramatic and....

...little-noticed vocabulary change a sign of internal administration turmoil? What did it really mean?

No, of course not. And, nothing.

Announcing everyone the VP meets with, including sessions with unidentified senior staff, which consume much of the vice president's listed time, and what subjects they talk about would have been a stark contrast to George W. Bush's administration, whose notoriously secretive ways drew such criticism from Democrats in Congress during eight long years of really failed policies.

Instead, in the apparent interests of bipartisanship, the Delaware Democrat has adopted much the same sort of undetailed schedule as his Republican predecessor, Dick Cheney, who was not in the Senate when Obama was only 11 years old.

In fact, today's Biden schedule highlight is a meeting with the chief of transparency for economic recovery. But, unfortunately, the transparency meeting is non-transparent, closed to the press. (See his full schedule below.) Which makes it -- what? -- secret openness? Open secrecy?

In a joint report issued early this week a league of nonprofit groups including Common Cause gave the Democratic administration high marks for its openness, although it said the work was incomplete and didn't really go into the lack of open healthcare legislative hearings televised by C-SPAN, as promised by candidate Obama.

Under the category of good but not good enough, here's another viewpoint from Tommy Christopher, including the Obama C-SPAN promise video.

Biden once described Cheney as the most dangerous VP in American history. But since Biden will only turn 68 this year, he was probably overstating in his well-known, jolly way the dangerous vice presidents that he's known whose devious backroom skills and ways earned them fame over the decades --men with household names like William King, Henry Wilson and T.A. Hendricks.

Someday, who knows, Biden's too may join them.

-- Andrew Malcolm

Here is the vice president's official schedule for today. Boldface was added in the interests of emphasis. Note especially that the vice president's meeting with the chairman of the Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board is closed, meaning non-transparent.

The "pool spray" mentioned has nothing to do with aquatics. It's a coded message to media that a few select members will be allowed in to take pictures briefly -- possibly for only a few seconds -- as Biden and his guest pretend to continue their previously private conversation as if the meeting was open.


In the morning, the President and the Vice President will receive the Presidential Daily Briefing and the Economic Daily Briefing in the Oval Office. These briefings are closed press.

At 11:30 AM, the Vice President will meet with Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to discuss the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This meeting is closed press.

Afterwards, the President and the Vice President will have lunch in the Private Dining Room. This lunch is closed press.

 At 1:00 PM, the Vice President will meet with Iraqi Vice President Adil Abd al-Mahdi in the Roosevelt Room. There will be a pool spray at the bottom of this meeting; gather time is 1:45 PM in the Brady Briefing Room.

(UPDATE 2:20 p.m.: The White House issued its own report on this closed meeting. Both paragraphs are added below at the end of the VP's schedule.)

Then, at 2:15 PM, the Vice President will meet with Earl Devaney, chairman of the Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board. This meeting is closed press.    ###

White House report on one of Biden's closed meetings:

Today, Vice President Biden met with Iraqi Vice President Adil Abd al-Mahdi at the White House. President Obama joined part of the discussion. The leaders discussed preparations for the March parliamentary elections and ongoing efforts to resolve outstanding national unity issues.

Today’s meeting was the latest in an ongoing series of high-level engagements between U.S. and Iraqi officials. The U.S. government remains committed to a long-term partnership with the Iraqi government and people.    ###

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Photo: Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (198)

The comments to this entry are closed.

I enjoyed this article. Thanks for the laugh.

I had to respond because the message board was empty. The situation must be desperate at the L.A. Times when you can't even get a posting with a Drudge link. Maybe it is because you are presenting what is already obvious to most people as some kind of a scoop. Try to catch up, won't you?

such scum traitor pigs all the democrats are... anti-freedomite swine!

honestly i dont think obama/barry has spoken an honest word to America yet

thats why he cant face reporters, he is ONLY lies

sheesh that didnt take long to see

treason much?

Seriously? This reads like a headline from The Onion.

First laugh of the day. Thanks Joe!

When Cheney did it, it was the end of our Government and our Constitution. When Biden does what Cheney did, it is "apperant interests of bipartisanship".
The Obama administration is controlled by a Chicago Thug while our country is destroyed.

Soooo very funny. Good job Top of the Ticket.
The downfall of this political monstrosity should continue until nothing is left, and the Union is saved from its evil grasp.

Even IF any hearings or meetings are open to the public, they will be staged events to look good. The real deal making meetings are always closed to the public. You didnt really believe the politician you voted for, did you?

just sad how if they were to be challanged on this by "press" that their reply would be blackball.

This is the Bizarro Presidency!

Aaaarrrr-ggg, Joe Biden is Linus !!

"eight long years of really failed policies" - It may be time to block the political opinion section of the latimes. With statements like that, I have to question if there are any standards to posting opinion pieces. Something as simple as requiring a basic math demonstration for submitters. You know, ones like "If the republicans were majority in congress from 2000 to 2006 and democrats won majority in 2006 to 2010 , how many years did the republicans have a majority between 2000 and 2010?" Writer: "Ooooo, oooo, I know!!! Eight!" Someone with a brain: "Umm, no, that would be Six years"

gotta laugh
doesn't deserve comment

This is like Delta Tau Chi being put on double secret probabtion.

Biden is a long term liar,starting cheating in college.Never held a job.Career politician all his life which earned him $$ millions.Just a dumb boob who will kiss ass to get along. He is very shallow with no intellect that is noticiable.
Thank you.

well, the democratic diffinition of government transparency must be diffrent than the Amercan people.
Joe Biden has some "balls" to do this. And Pelosi thinks that this administration is government transparency just blows me away.

Do you also run around in a cheerleaders skirt and pom-poms? I don't think I've ever read or heard anything as insipid and patronizing with the exception of possibly Keith Oberman. This article was a waste of my time and space on the internet and the newspaper. Now I remember why I don't buy the L.A. TIMES anymore. I'll continue to read the OC Register

I want my income to be this transparent to the IRS. . .

What is Common Cause saying??

Biden is such a nit-wit. I firmly believe Obama chose him as a life insurance policy .... who can say President Biden with a straight face? The man is the intellectual peer to a grape fruit.

Peekaboo I see YOU....OH, no I dont.

Like the man said "dont ever listen to what barack HUSSEIN obama says, watch what he does"

Allah Akbar.

Joe, Joe, Joe... you use to have some itegrity.... Now your a whipping boy for the President and what he has to share with us, which is nothing. Why dont you guys have a "closed door meeting" somewhere in the back of a Laundromat and come out in about 3 years, the net effect to the Country will be the same. Whatever you say Joe, make sure you get it approved by Rahmn or BO because there are too many "boo boos" floating around.
God Bless you Joe, for who you once were...

Capitalists are much worse. They have meetings and never tell anyone, especially the secret meetings where they manipulate the economy...or is that the Freemasons?

Dumbrocraps are all Quislings to Freedom.

Best article from Drudge this week. Love it. SNL writers must have very easy jobs lately.

The dumbest people I ever met were the people in my political science classes who bought into Marxism. We have a president who has bought into the garbage, and he has a whole administration that did the same. Outlook for the country? Great, if we can send these dopes packing.

Reminds me of one of those spaced out Sunday morning TV preachers "...send us your money to so we can keep on bringing Him to you to show you the way..."

Oh yeah, Obama and biden promised transparency. I can see right through them!!!!

I think it's a little bit of stretch to refer to Bush as 8 years of failed policies. The war dragged on and we had a housing bubble that burst (Obama is continuing both policies that led to those problems) but by and large times were good. Sub-5% unemployment, a Dow at 15,000 (only at 10,000 now), tax cuts. And he was a two-term re-elected President who increased his vote, which doesn't occur that often, so most people liked him. On Biden, he's a circus entertainer, and a good entertainer - but don't expect too much.

Joe Biden continues to fiddle on the deck while Obama sinks the economy of the United States. I hope they are both remembered for the failures that they are!

This administration is a train wreck. Talk about failed policies, look around you. Are you on drugs? The people in this nation that make it work, the entrepreneurs, Dr’s, Business people. You know the hard working Americans that keep this country moving. Well we all feel like we are in the twilight zone. When is this nightmare going to end? Transparency? Well that was a BS ploy to get you idiots to vote them in!

Who really cares what Biden says or does. He is a liability to Obama and can't keep his foot out of his mouth. Just another example of a career politician wastign your tax dollars by merely existing. I am not for Obama is any way but I don't want him to step down and let this hack take over. Go away Biden

This is par for the course. That the Democrat Party says one thing and does the other is to be expected. "The end justifies the means" is practiced by progressive Democrats and they don't even try to hide it anymore. They have literally tried to destroyed our economy. It is either one or the other... They are ignorant or they are intentionally trying to destroy the America.


"It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."

Joe (the Buffoon) Biden picked up on this adage a little late, but since he can't keep his mouth shut, he just shoots it off behind closed doors and that way the public isn't exposed to his idiocy.

Why should this be a shock to anyone. This entire administration has been completely opposite of what they ran on and promised.

This administration certainly has mastered doublespeak/newspeak.

Mercifully, Biden has been out of the limelight for some time but in reality not long enough. So, hallalulah, he's gettin a little ink and I'm sure he has been hurtin for it.

Biden would eat a kangaroo that had been dead for a week and pick his teeth with its wiskers if he though it would draw a little attention to himself.

Oh, Bush must be telling Biden what to do!

The only transparency of Obama's administration is - that we can see right through their secrecy.

Having a closed meeting on transperancy how typical of the modern politician. Maybe we will get a definition of what IS is too.

This was well written and funny. I think it is a postive that a newspaper stick to a politician in a way similar a late night monologue. None of the political wizards, in either party, now or in the future, are going to hold more than a handful of meetings open to the press. But come election time, they will all talk about how open, transparent and superior they are to anyone running against them.

I'm pickin' up your sarcasm.

When the media starts doing its job then I will pay attention to your chastising about transparency. While not perfect, the Obama Administration's transparency has been light years better than the last Administration, which of course you never chastised for their secrecy. You allowed them to take us into a unnecessary and hugely costly war. You allowed them to torture, you allowed them to lie, cheat and steal from the American people. So, please, spare me your fake outrage now.

Maybe if you asked for transparency then we wouldn't be in the horrible mess we are in now.

Is anyone really surprised by this?

We are going down the trail where eventually BHO or one of his minions with a straight face will tell us that the flag is red, yellow and blue!

Well I should hope so, I'm layin' it on pretty thick.

Why should we worry about losing Leno OR Conan? We have BIDEN to keep us all laughing in our seats. Unfortunately, he keeps most of his comic antics in closed meetings.

Perhaps Biden could take over the show for LENO....would love to see him use the venue of the Man in the Street interviews to see if ANY of the Congress or Staff HAVE A CLUE about what is good for the nation, and what the CITIZENS WANT.

bait and switch

bunch of LIARS

bet this dont get posted by LAT

A closed meeting on transparency. Orwell would be proud.

Please, please, please keep Joe Biden as VP. He is absolutely the gift that just keeps on giving!

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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.
President Obama
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