WASHINGTON – During his interview with Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s Hardball, Vice President Biden was asked about rumors circulating Washington that he asked Russian President Putin to be his running mate in the 2016 presidential race. Following is a transcript of that conversation.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: My guest tonight is the vice president of the United States. Let’s play Hardball! …. Welcome, Mr. Vice President!
JOE BIDEN: Happy to be here, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Let’s examine the bacterium culture in that big Petri dish we call Washington politics.
BIDEN: (laughs) That’s a wonderful analogy, Chris.
MATTHEWS: (blushing) Thank-you, Mr. Vice President. (clears throat) Uh, Hillary Clinton is showing fertile signs that she’s begun preparing for a 2016 presidential run. Does that make you uneasy?
BIDEN: (laughing loudly) Oh, gosh no! I’ve made no effort to hide the fact that I respect and admire Secretary Clinton’s tenacity throughout all her years of humiliation and scandal. Her ruthless and unrelenting ambition personifies what makes America exceptional.
MATTHEWS: I have no doubt your sentiments are genuine, but would you concede a Hillary Clinton campaign could interfere with your own presidential aspirations?
BIDEN: Chris, right now my job is to stand with President Obama as we work to get our country back to work, get those transgender people on the front lines of our military and by gosh, provide unfettered access to swift and free abortions for all those young gals being impregnated by their fathers.
BIDEN: (laughs) Chris, I learned a long time ago not to use the word bag when I’m talking about the fairer sex. (Biden winks at the camera)
MATTHEWS: Sir, there’s a Washington power player, whose name I cannot divulge, that I’ve known for a long time. She’s hobnobbed in the big leagues for decades and her credentials are impeccable. She confided to me that you’ve reached out to Russian President Putin as a potential running mate in 2016.
BIDEN: (laughing loudly) Oh, gosh! Well, that’s sure a whale of a tale, isn’t it?
MATTHEWS: Mr. Vice President, are you telling me now, in front of millions of viewers, that you did not speak with President Putin?
BIDEN: I’m the vice president of the United States, Chris, of course I’ve spoken with President Putin! Heck, we’re in the same fantasy football league.
MATTHEWS: Did the subject of him being your running mate in 2016 ever come up?
BIDEN: Chris, when you speak to as many people as I do everyday, the conversations kind of resemble a big pot of stew. It may taste good, but you haven’t got a clue what’s in it.
MATTHEWS: So you don’t have a clue if you asked President Putin to be your running mate?
BIDEN: (laughing) I don’t recall such a conversation with Vladimir.
MATTHEWS: What if President Putin wanted to be your running mate?
BIDEN: (laughing) If President Putin wants to be my running mate he’ll have to be vetted just like everyone else. One doesn’t just become a vice presidential running mate. There are lots of hurdles before that finish line.
MATTHEWS: But sir, the whole world is aware of Putin’s draconian views on homosexuality and his alliance with Syria.
BIDEN: Chris, you’re talking about Vladimir’s Russian policies.
MATTHEWS: Are you saying his views would be different in the U.S.?
BIDEN: Oh sure. His convictions would change dramatically if he were vice president of the United States. Who I am today is completely different from who I was before I became a politician.
MATTHEWS: So you’re saying it’s all politics.
BIDEN: (laughing) Of course. Heck, John Kerry was a man who called his fellow soldiers in Vietnam murderers and rapists, made a mockery of the war medals he was awarded for questionable heroics and he couldn’t remember if he voted to invade Iraq. The minute he becomes secretary of state his bloodthirsty craving to start bombing Syria made Dick Cheney look like a trembling pacifist. Remember when President Obama was going to woo the world with kindness and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize? Today he’s force feeding aging Guantanamo prisoners and using drones to shower bombs over the Middle East without the slightest concern for collateral damage.
MATTHEWS: You don’t think President Obama cares about innocent women and children being killed by our drone attacks?
BIDEN: (Laughing) Of course not. When you get a taste of power at this level, Chris, you’d be surprised how easy it is to discard the identities you’ve created as you’re throwing anybody who gets in your way under the bus.
BIDEN: Look, Chris, let’s not forget how impressed the American people were after Vladimir saved President Obama from his embarrassing Syria debacle. Vladimir’s decisiveness and take-charge attitude is something this country hasn’t seen since Reagan. The American people are hungry for an unwavering, take-charge kind of guy who makes things happen.
MATTHEWS: Mr. Vice President, are you considering Vladimir Putin as your running mate in 2016?
BIDEN: (Laughing) Of course not, Chris.