In the past, Biden has embraced his “Uncle Joe” persona—in 2011 he told Car and Driver magazine that, while he drives a Camaro, not a 1981 Pontiac TransAm, he does wash the car shirtless (though not on the White House lawn). That persona—pioneered by The Onion, which has run articles like “Biden Receives Lifetime Ban From Dave & Buster’s” and “Bounced Joe Biden Check Still Taped Up In Delaware Liquor Store”—has been an endearing feature of his vice presidency, but it seems it isn’t one that Biden wants as part of his legacy.
In an interview with CNBC’s John Harwood—on Amtrak, obviously—Biden had this to say when asked if he was comfortable by being described as “Goofy Uncle Joe.”
BIDEN: No, I’m not comfortable with Goofy Uncle Joe. But one of the things that’s important to know—and one of the reasons why, when I first got asked about this job I said no—is there is no inherent power in being vice president.
And so when the president asked me to consider this again—and I said yes—he said, “What do you want?” I said, “I want to be the last guy in the room.” Every assignment he’s given me, I’ve not had to check back. I ran the Recovery Act—beginning, middle and end. I did the Iraq thing.
And by the way, the so-called Goofy Uncle Joe if you notice, I beat every Republican in every poll when they thought I was running. You notice that my favorability was higher than anybody that’s running for office in either party.
Biden is understandably a bit defensive, which is fair, though using Goofy Uncle Joe as a launchpad to discuss how he definitely could’ve been president if he ran is a bit silly. Thankfully the rest of the interview—which touches on the crises Obama and Biden faced, Biden’s role writing the contentious 1994 crime bill, and taxing hedge fund income (which, uh, Biden compares to liberating the death camps)—addresses Biden’s legacy more directly. Still, Biden certainly seems salty about the “Uncle Joe” thing, even with all he’s accomplished. Maybe he should cool his heels in Mexico until it all blows over.