By Nate Odenkirk | Staff Writer
Fifty days in as Commander in Chief, President Joe Biden (D) appears to have everything under control, for the most part. Political misgivings aside, it’s hard to deny that Mr. Biden has demonstrated at least a cursory understanding of his general duties and physical surroundings.
As low a bar as that may seem, it still has former President Barack Obama (D) checking in with his former vice president, sometimes up to three times a day, to offer unsolicited advice. “He called me last week to ask if I knew where the pens are. ‘Yes, of course I know where the pens are,’ I tell him,” said an exasperated Mr. Biden in an exclusive interview with The Inquirist. “And then he says, ‘no, I’m talking about the special pens,’ and I tell him ‘Yes, Barack. I know where they keep the pens with PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES printed on them. That’s like, the first thing they tell you.’ He just won’t leave me alone.”
For his part, former President Obama doesn’t believe the incessant phone calls are a problem. “Bush called me all the time when I was in office. Hell, he still calls me twice a day. He thinks I’m still president. His advice is often incorrect, but I like talking to him,” said Mr. Obama. “Look, Joe is just starting out. He’s a little angsty—that’s normal for his age group. When he looks back on these first months, he’ll be grateful we spent so much quality time together.”
But this incessant “helicopter presidenting” often does more to embarrass than help the current administration’s efforts. President Biden relayed an episode in which he was in a high-stakes meeting with Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in the Oval Office. Out of nowhere, Mr. Obama called to ask if Mr. Biden knew that the bathroom adjacent to the Oval Office was a “push” door. “I had to say out loud that yes, I knew that in order to use the bathroom I had to push the bathroom door open. Mitch really got a kick out of that. Do you know how hard it is to then turn around and negotiate a COVID stimulus?”
In the middle of our interview with the president, Joe Biden excused himself to take an “emergency call” on the storied red rotary phone at the Resolute Desk. Those calls normally come in to warn the president of an impending attack or terrorist threat, and command the highest priority. About five minutes later, he stormed back in. “It was Barack again,” he groaned. “He wanted to know if I’d listened to that podcast he made with Bruce [Springsteen].” It is unclear how Mr. Obama even got the phone number to the Resolute Desk in the first place, because it changes with every administration and remains top secret, only to be used in times of crisis. “Give me a break. Asking a friend to check out your podcast is the exact opposite of an emergency. C’mon man.”
“Maybe I should give Joe some space,” said Mr. Obama, upon further reflection. “I still remember when I got him as my vice president in 2008. He’s grown now. He can handle himself.” That may very well be true.
“But I really think he would like my podcast.” ♦