Joe Biden was invited to Barack Obama's WH residence only once in 8 years as VP despite their famed 'bromance'
Despite their much-talked-about "bromance" back when they were running mates and used to work in the Oval Office together, President Joe Biden revealed in his first town hall since taking office that former POTUS Barack Obama only invited him to the White House residence once in the eight years that he served as the latter's vice president.
During CNN's town hall on Tuesday, February 16, the 46th president let slip that he attended hundreds of meetings in the Oval Office in the West Wing during Obama's presidency but was relatively unfamiliar with the president's residence in the main section of the White House. As the new commander-in-chief, he of course occupies the private chambers now. “I had never been up in the residence,” Biden said.
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Upon being pressed by town hall moderator Anderson Cooper, Biden recalled once having been in “the yellow room”, an oval-shaped room upstairs in the private residence. According to CNN, the current president may have been referring to a party that was held there to celebrate the passage of Obamacare in 2010.
Biden also revealed that he is “extremely self-conscious” about having White House staff wait on him in his new job. “It’s interesting how decent and incredible these folks are,” he said. “They’re wonderful people who work for the White House.”
He also earned laughs from the audience at the town hall when he remarked that staying at the White House still felt surreal to him every day, despite having spent eight years in and around the place. "I wake up in the morning and ask Jill, 'Where the hell are we'," he said.
"It's a little like a gilded cage in terms of being able to walk outside and do things," he said, comparing the experience of living in the vice president's residence with staying in the president's quarters. The VP's residence is 80 acres and includes secluded lawns and an outdoor swimming pool.
However, Biden said that he never aspired to live in the White House when he signed up for the job, but only intended to serve the country to the best of his capabilities. "I said when I was running, I wanted to be President not to live in the White House, but to be able to make the decisions about the future of the country," he said.
The fact that Biden was invited just once into then-president Obama's private residence is surprising mainly because of their well-documented "bromance" over the years that they served together that gave birth to a string of memes and gifs on social media. Obama called Biden a "brother" while presenting him with the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction in 2017.
In an interview that aired the same day, Biden told NBC of their friendship — "I don’t like him, I love him." Obama had even offered him personal financial help as Biden's family dealt with the illness and subsequent death of one of his sons, Beau Biden. While they didn't always agree on decisions, they pushed each other to make the most informed choices possible.
In May 2011, Biden had opposed the raid that ultimately killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. In his memoir 'A Promised Land', Obama said, "Joe weighed in against the raid." "As had been true in every major decision I'd made as president," Obama continued, "I appreciated Joe's willingness to buck the prevailing mood and ask tough questions, often in the interest of giving me the space I needed for my own internal deliberations."