President Obama is trying to put the finishing touches on his second term team. Yesterday, the President introduced three new cabinet nominees, including his picks for Budget Director, EPA chief and Energy Secretary. The announcement came as Vice President spoke at the annual America Israel Public Action Committee conference, saying the U.S. has a “a shared strategic commitment” with Israel and that President Obama isn’t bluffing when he says he’ll go to war to prevent Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon. The Vice President also all told the pro-Israel lobby group that “all options - including military force - are on the table.” It’s just the latest example of what appears to be Biden’s growing role in the Administration. He seems to be making a habit out of accomplishing some of the things the President and his aides have been unable to do. For example, last week when newly minted Secretary of State John Kerry was scrambling to keep the leader of Syria’s opposition from avoiding a key meeting in Rome, Biden stepped in, sealing the deal with a follow-up call and preventing what could have been a poor start to Kerry’s first overseas trip in his new post. But lest you think Biden is trying to steal Kerry’s thunder, the Vice President endorsed his old Senate colleague at AIPAC yesterday. Biden also tried to make it clear that he doesn’t want to undermine his boss, telling the conference “it’s never a good idea to steal the President’s thunder.” The Veep has run into trouble with this before, however, particularly when he told NBC’s Meet the Press last year during the election campaign that he favored marriage equality, preempting the President’s public support on the issue. But Capitol Hill watchers know that the former Senator has great standing around the Beltway and beyond. Some of the most recent examples include Biden’s fiscal cliff deal with Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell and his praise of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor for getting the Violence Against Women Act through congress. President Obama may need Biden’s good standing with those republicans if he wants to reach a budget deal and move forward on an agressive second term agenda. Will Biden be that secret weapon who helps the White House “matriculate the ball down the field?” We’ll discuss the President’s cabinet quarterback and more when we see you at noon ET on msnbc.
Karen Finney, Fmr. DNC Communications Director/msnbc Political Analyst (@finneyk)
Sam Tanenhaus, Editor, The New York Times Book Review
Martin Bashir, msnbc Host, Martin Bashir (@bashirlive)
Jacob Weisberg, Chairman, Slate (@jacobwe)
David Baldacci, Author, The 39 Clues: Day of Doom (@davidbaldacci)