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Biden's current version of how he became Obama's VP

October 19, 2009 |  7:12 pm

President Barack Obama speaks in the East Room of the White House recently while his Vice President Joe Biden does something strange behind his back

Remember that story about how then-Sen. Joe Biden became then-Sen. Barack Obama's Democratic vice presidential running mate?

In the summer of 2008, Biden had accompanied his wife to the dentist's office for her root canal. His cellphone rang (Biden's, not the dentist's).

It was Obama calling with the VP offer. Biden accepted. As long as he could play an important role in a new administration.

Speaking tonight at an annual Allegheny County Democratic Committee dinner in Pennsylvania, Biden told a curiously different version. Biden said he rejected Obama's offer flat-out when first approached.

"I initially said no," Biden said tonight, according to press pool notes, "that I wasn't interested."

Biden said the freshman Illinois senator asked the longtime Delaware senator to think about it.

According to tonight's version, "a couple months later," a persistent Obama repeated the offer in a hotel room in Minneapolis.

According to Biden, he looked at Obama and said, "Are you really committed to changing the course of this country?"

Biden recounted tonight, "He reached out, shook my hand and said, 'I am,'"

And thus the historic political deal was struck.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Joshua Roberts / Bloomberg News