Opinion: Joe Biden update: He watches START treaty signing

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Who said vice presidents rarely do much useful or important?

Even Democratic Vice President Joe Biden was allowed into the Oval Office on Wednesday to help witness President Obama signing the new START missile warhead reduction treaty with Russia. This is a really big deal until the next one.

The nation’s economy is obviously now in full-swing recovery mode because, as everyone knows, for this crowd creating jobs has been Job One from Day One.

So, there’s plenty of free time now for nine other Washington types to help witness the presidential signing by uselessly standing around. (If a president signs something and nobody’s officially watching, is it still really, really signed?)


In attendance were a handful of senators who always seem to show up for these things to get a free pen.

But also on hand were people who do actual work, such as Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen and Energy Secretary Steven Chu. Chu has a Nobel Prize, in case you forgot, just like the president. That makes two Nobel medals in one cabinet, Obama’s cabinet.

As veteran campaigners who know in their hearts that they should be the one sitting behind that presidential desk, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton instinctively staked out positions directly behind the signer to ensure they don’t get cut out of most news photos.

Because of the Obama administration’s policy of occasional transparency, news photographers were also allowed in to witness and record the full range of the ceremony’s obvious excitement.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Alex Wong / Getty Images; Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press.