Barack Obama discusses UFOs and Roswell
Mr Obama will join the likes of former US Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, as they witness Mr Biden’s inauguration in Washington today. He and Mr Biden have a long affiliation, dating back more than 15 years to when Mr Obama was originally placed on a Senate committee with the now 78-year-old. During Mr Obama’s successful presidential campaign, their bond grew closer as Mr Biden was selected to be his running mate.
The pair then successfully navigated their way through two election wins.
Their bond deepened further, as Mr Obama granted Mr Biden the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest US civilian honour after their time in office.
And although throwing his support behind Mr Biden’s triumphant quest to beat incumbent US President Donald Trump in November, Mr Obama’s initial feeling towards his counterpart could not have been more different.
The pair endured a series of rows during their time in Washington, including when Mr Biden demanded the then-US President “think” about the consequences of killing terrorist Osama bin Laden in 2011.
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Some six years earlier, Mr Obama – then a darling of the Democrats – was assigned to work on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which was led by Mr Biden.
Reports suggest that Mr Obama “grew frustrated with the panel” and Mr Biden’s “maddeningly long-winded” speeches.
During one session Mr Obama reportedly passed a note to an aide that said: “Shoot. Me. Now.”
This first encounter between the pair would not be their last fall-out, and even before Mr Obama had nominated Mr Biden for the vice presidency, they were again at loggerheads.
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Both future Presidents opted to run in the 2008 election race, but such was Mr Obama’s “star power”, Mr Biden would come up short.
During the campaign to be Democrat nominee, Mr Biden sparked a race row after describing Mr Obama as the “first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy”.
While fury erupted, Mr Obama coolly said he had “no problem” with Mr Biden, and would later secure his place on the ballot.
Many insiders argued that Mr Obama and Mr Biden were “odd choices” to run.
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Mr Biden even had to be convinced to take the position, with former Senator Ted Kaufman – a longtime adviser – claiming he “really didn’t want to be Vice President”.
He argued that Mr Obama “had to convince him”, while Mr Biden’s wife Jill would eventually demand he “grow up”.
A source added: “His mother said he could not turn down the chance to help elect the first African-American President.”
When they eventually got into power, the arguments really began, with Mr Obama constantly frustrated with his Vice President for going off on a tangent during meetings.
According to James Comey, who at the time was FBI director, “Mr Obama would have a series of exchanges heading a conversation very clearly and crisply in Direction A”.
He added: “Then, at some point, Biden would jump in with, ‘Can I ask something, Mr President?’
“Obama would politely agree but something in his expression suggested he knew full well that for the next five or 10 minutes we would all be heading in Direction Z.
“After listening and patiently waiting, President Obama would then bring the conversation back on course.”
This frustration was shared both ways, however, as ex-House Republican leader during the Obama administration Eric Cantor claimed.
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He argued that dealing with Mr Obama was “like travelling on a one-way street”, adding: “It was his way or the highway.
“When you dealt with Joe Biden, you actually had the opportunity to be heard. He was interested in understanding your viewpoint.”
Eventually however, the pair would become each other’s closest confidants, with Mr Obama even speaking at the funeral of Mr Biden’s son Beau.
In another heartwarming moment, the friends showed their bond after Mr Obama praised his former running mate during a ceremony to reward Mr Biden in 2017.
Days before he handed over power to Mr Trump, Mr Obama said his Vice President was the “best possible choice, not just for me, but for the American people”.
Mr Biden’s administration will itself make history today, as Kamala Harris becomes the first woman of colour to become Vice President.
The ceremony begins at 5pm, with the likes of Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez participating.
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