The former Delaware senator, who ran against Obama in last year's presidential primaries, has a weekly one-on-one lunch with the president where they can talk candidly about policy and politics, and Biden has emerged as a respected figure in the administration. He particularly likes serving as chairman of the Middle Class Task Force.
Before he was sworn in, Biden said he didn't want to be pushed into taking over a special project that could easily be marginalized, which happened to many of his predecessors. But he has quickly discovered that the task force gives him a platform for speaking directly to the country and getting involved in policymaking on many fronts. "This will be a showcase for Biden," says a Democratic strategist who is close to the vice president.
In fact, Biden is scheduled to hold a town hall meeting under the auspices of the task force Thursday in St. Cloud, Minn., to discuss ways the new stimulus law will help the middle class.
During the campaign, Biden "was the voice of the middle class," and he is trying to continue in that role as veep, says the Biden loyalist, who adds: "Biden does not have a particularly high profile, but people like him more than they liked Dick Cheney by a large order of magnitude."
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