Photo by Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images.
Speaking at a retreat for House Democrats this past weekend, Joe Biden told a dramatic tale of President Obama's decision to approve the raid that ultimately killed Osama Bin Laden, revealing that the vice president -- and to a lesser extent many of Obama's other top advisers -- thought the raid was too risky.
"[Obama] went around the table with all the senior people, including the chiefs of staff, and he said, 'I have to make a decision. What is your opinion?'" Biden told lawmakers, according to the New York Times, which confirmed the vice president's account with the White House. "Every single person in that room hedged their bet except Leon Panetta. Leon said go. Everyone else said, 49, 51."
When Obama asked the VP for his opinion, Biden said he responded: "'You know, I didn’t know we had so many economists around the table.' I said, 'We owe the man a direct answer. Mr. President, my suggestion is, don’t go. We have to do two more things to see if he’s there.'"
Then, Obama stood up and, as he left the room, he said "I’ll give you my decision." The next morning, he gave the "Go" order, according to Biden.
The second-hand account of how things played out in the White House Situation Room provides a fascinating peek inside the president's decision-making process -- and also allows Biden to use his unique way of telling stories to try to boost Obama's reputation as a strong leader. Because sometimes you need to tell as well as show, Biden added, in reference to his boss: "This guy's got a backbone like a ramrod."