Joe Biden says he didn’t want to be vice president


Former Vice President Joe Biden didn’t want the No. 2 job ― and said so when Barack Obama offered him the position.

“I didn’t want to be vice president, I never aspired to the job,” Biden said Tuesday evening in San Francisco promoting his new memoir “Promise Me, Dad,” which chronicles the year his son Beau died of brain cancer in 2015.  

Biden, in a wide-ranging conversation moderated by former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, recalled his reluctance to join the Obama ticket.

“I’m flattered Barack, but I don’t want to be vice president,” Biden said he told Obama in 2008, when the then-candidate asked him to be his running mate. “[Obama] said, ‘How much time do you need?’ I said, ‘I don’t need any time.’”

“There’s no power in the vice presidency ― you’re stand-by equipment,” Biden added. “I had a reputation as being a powerful senator, and I thought I could help Barack more by staying in the Senate.”

Biden said last year he does not plan to run for president in 2020.

Back in 2008, then-candidate Obama suggested Biden talk to his family to consider the position, Biden said ― and give him an answer in two days.

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Obama awards Biden Presidential Medal of Freedom
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Obama awards Biden Presidential Medal of Freedom

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden wipes his eyes before receiving the Medal of Freedom from U.S. President Barack Obama, not pictured, during an event at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017. Obama awarded Biden with the highest civilian honor, commemorating an 'extraordinary man with an extraordinary career in public service.'

(Olivier Douliery/Pool via Bloomberg)

US President Barack Obama awards Vice President Joe Biden the Presidential Medal of Freedom during a tribute to Biden at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 12, 2017.

(NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Vice-President Joe Biden speaks after he received the Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama during an event in the State Dinning room of the White House, January 12, 2017 in Washington, DC.

(Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

U.S. President Barack Obama hugs Vice President Joe Biden after presenting him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 12, 2017.

(REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

U.S. President Barack Obama presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Vice President Joe Biden in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 12, 2017.

(REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

Vice-President Joe Biden reacts as President Barack Obama delivers remarks during an event in the State Dining room of the White House, January 12, 2017 in Washington, DC.

(Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 12: (AFP OUT) U.S. Vice President Joe Biden wipes his eyes as Preident Barack Obama presents him with Medal of Freedom during an event in the State Dinning room of the White House January 12, 2017 in Washington, DC.

(Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

U.S. President Barack Obama presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Vice President Joe Biden in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 12, 2017.

(REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

US Vice President Joe Biden wipes away tears after President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom during a tribute to Biden at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 12, 2017.

(NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. President Barack Obama presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Vice President Joe Biden in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 12, 2017.

(REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

Vice-President Joe Biden gets emotional as President Barack Obama delivers remarks during an event in the State Dinning room of the White House, January 12, 2017 in Washington, DC.

(Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

U.S. President Barack Obama presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Vice President Joe Biden in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 12, 2017.

(REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks at a tribute to Vice President Joe Biden in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 12, 2017.

(REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

U.S. President Barack Obama looks at his watch as he reacts to Vice President Joe Biden speech in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 12, 2017.

(REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden wipes his eye after President Barack Obama presented him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 12, 2017.

(REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

US Vice President Joe Biden wipes away tears as he walks past President Barack Obama after he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom during a tribute to Biden at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 12, 2017.

(NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. President Barack Obama presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Vice President Joe Biden in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 12, 2017.

(REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

Vice-President Joe Biden speaks after he received from President Barack Obama the Medal of Freedom during an event in the State Dinning room of the White House, January 12, 2017 in Washington, DC.

(Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

US Vice President Joe Biden acknowledges applause after President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom during a tribute to Biden at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 12, 2017.

(NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks at a tribute to Vice President Joe Biden in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 12, 2017.

(REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

U.S. President Barack Obama presents the Medal of Freedom to U.S. Vice President Joe Biden during an event at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017. Obama awarded Biden with the highest civilian honor, commemorating an 'extraordinary man with an extraordinary career in public service.'

(Olivier Douliery/Pool via Bloomberg)

U.S. President Barack Obama looks at his wife Michelle and his daughters Malia and Sasha during an event in the State Dinning room of the White House, January 12, 2017 in Washington, DC. Obama presented the Medal of Freedom to Vice President Joe Biden.

(Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Vice President Joe Biden after presenting him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 12, 2017.

(REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden reacts as President Barack Obama delivers remarks to tribute him in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 12, 2017.

(REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

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Biden gathered a family meeting, and it was apparently his late son Beau ― an Iraq War veteran who served as Delaware’s attorney general for eight years ― who ultimately convinced him to take the position.

“Beau said I had an obligation to,” Biden recalled.

“It was the greatest honor of my life,” he added of his role as vice president under Obama. “My son Beau was right ― to take the job.”

And if anyone is still wondering whether the much-chronicled bromance between Biden and Obama was real, the former VP addressed that, too.

“It became a deep personal friendship,” Biden said of his relationship with Obama during the eight-year presidency. “Most of those memes are true.”

24 PHOTOS
Obama awards Biden Presidential Medal of Freedom
See Gallery
Obama awards Biden Presidential Medal of Freedom

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden wipes his eyes before receiving the Medal of Freedom from U.S. President Barack Obama, not pictured, during an event at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017. Obama awarded Biden with the highest civilian honor, commemorating an 'extraordinary man with an extraordinary career in public service.'

(Olivier Douliery/Pool via Bloomberg)

US President Barack Obama awards Vice President Joe Biden the Presidential Medal of Freedom during a tribute to Biden at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 12, 2017.

(NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Vice-President Joe Biden speaks after he received the Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama during an event in the State Dinning room of the White House, January 12, 2017 in Washington, DC.

(Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

U.S. President Barack Obama hugs Vice President Joe Biden after presenting him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 12, 2017.

(REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

U.S. President Barack Obama presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Vice President Joe Biden in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 12, 2017.

(REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

Vice-President Joe Biden reacts as President Barack Obama delivers remarks during an event in the State Dining room of the White House, January 12, 2017 in Washington, DC.

(Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 12: (AFP OUT) U.S. Vice President Joe Biden wipes his eyes as Preident Barack Obama presents him with Medal of Freedom during an event in the State Dinning room of the White House January 12, 2017 in Washington, DC.

(Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

U.S. President Barack Obama presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Vice President Joe Biden in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 12, 2017.

(REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

US Vice President Joe Biden wipes away tears after President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom during a tribute to Biden at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 12, 2017.

(NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. President Barack Obama presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Vice President Joe Biden in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 12, 2017.

(REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

Vice-President Joe Biden gets emotional as President Barack Obama delivers remarks during an event in the State Dinning room of the White House, January 12, 2017 in Washington, DC.

(Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

U.S. President Barack Obama presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Vice President Joe Biden in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 12, 2017.

(REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks at a tribute to Vice President Joe Biden in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 12, 2017.

(REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

U.S. President Barack Obama looks at his watch as he reacts to Vice President Joe Biden speech in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 12, 2017.

(REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden wipes his eye after President Barack Obama presented him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 12, 2017.

(REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

US Vice President Joe Biden wipes away tears as he walks past President Barack Obama after he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom during a tribute to Biden at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 12, 2017.

(NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. President Barack Obama presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Vice President Joe Biden in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 12, 2017.

(REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

Vice-President Joe Biden speaks after he received from President Barack Obama the Medal of Freedom during an event in the State Dinning room of the White House, January 12, 2017 in Washington, DC.

(Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

US Vice President Joe Biden acknowledges applause after President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom during a tribute to Biden at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 12, 2017.

(NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks at a tribute to Vice President Joe Biden in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 12, 2017.

(REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

U.S. President Barack Obama presents the Medal of Freedom to U.S. Vice President Joe Biden during an event at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017. Obama awarded Biden with the highest civilian honor, commemorating an 'extraordinary man with an extraordinary career in public service.'

(Olivier Douliery/Pool via Bloomberg)

U.S. President Barack Obama looks at his wife Michelle and his daughters Malia and Sasha during an event in the State Dinning room of the White House, January 12, 2017 in Washington, DC. Obama presented the Medal of Freedom to Vice President Joe Biden.

(Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Vice President Joe Biden after presenting him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 12, 2017.

(REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden reacts as President Barack Obama delivers remarks to tribute him in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 12, 2017.

(REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

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  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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