Vice President Joe Biden's humble life
Take the time to read this, you will not believe
Every Friday the vice president takes a helicopter designated as
Marine Two from the vice president's residence in northwest Washington
to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland .
He then hops on Air Force Two to fly back to his home in Delaware
. At the end of the weekend, he returns on Air Force Two, usually
a Boeing C-32.
On Saturdays in warm weather, Biden regularly returns to Andrews
on the airplane to play golf at the base with President Obama. After
the game, he flies back to Delaware . On Sunday evening, he returns
on the plane to Washington - all at taxpayer expense.
The Boeing C-32 is a specially configured Boeing 757-200 commercial
jet. The cost of flying the plane is $22,000 an hour, so each half-hour
trip to or from Delaware costs about $10,000. Each golf game costs
taxpayers $20,000. At that rate, the annual cost to taxpayers of
Biden's weekend trips is well over $1 million. That does not include
so-called deadhead flights when the plane often flies back to Washington
empty and then returns empty to pick up Biden.
In addition, the Secret Service rents more than 20 condominiums
in the Wilmington area for agents who must accompany Biden when
he returns to his home state. Rather than try to find hotel space,
the Secret Service decided to rent the condos in part because, even
when he knows his schedule in advance, Biden rarely tells agents
until the last minute when he will be returning to Wilmington beyond
his weekend trips. As a result, agents cannot plan their own lives.
A Secret Service agent says that since Air Force Two parks at Andrews,
Obama is obviously aware that Biden is running up a huge government
tab for each game of golf they play.
Biden's press office had no comment. Asked if President Obama thinks
these costs are appropriate and why he has not questioned Biden's
flying to play golf with him at a cost of $20,000 per game, the
president's press office had no comment. Biden's commutes have cost
taxpayers at least $4 million so far.
After my story ran on Newsmax, a major media outlet obtained Pentagon
records confirming the trips and costs. But so far, that outlet
has not run the story. The rest of the media have ignored it.
In addition to his salary as vice president of $230,700, Biden has
free use of the vice president's residence at the Naval Observatory.
The vice president's residence is a handsome 9,150-square-foot,
three-story mansion overlooking Massachusetts Avenue NW in Washington
Complete with pool, pool house, and indoor gym, the white brick
house was built in 1893 as the home of the superintendent of the
U.S. Naval Observatory. Congress turned it into the official residence
of the vice president in 1974 and gave it the address One Observatory
During the day, at least five Navy stewards attend to every personal
need of the second family, including cleaning, cooking, shopping
for food, and doing the laundry.
Biden has portrayed himself as a regular Joe, a product of a working-class
family who takes on millionaires and Republicans who are said to
be out of touch with middle-class Americans.
Last June, Obama appointed
Biden to root out wasteful government spending. But behind the scenes,
it's a different matter.
Biden's disregard for the cost of constantly shuttling back and
forth to his home in Wilmington and his additional trips to golf
with the president betray the arrogant, contemptuous attitude we
saw him display toward Ryan during the debate.
The White House is a character crucible, Bertram S.
Brown, M.D., a psychiatrist who formerly headed the National Institute
of Mental Health, told me for the Secret Service book. It
either creates or distorts character. Few decent people want to
subject themselves to the kind of grueling abuse candidates take
when they run in the first place, says Dr. Brown.
Even if an individual is balanced, once someone becomes president,
how does one solve the conundrum of staying real and somewhat humble
when one is surrounded by the most powerful office in the land,
and from becoming overwhelmed by an, at times, pathological environment
that treats you every day as an emperor?
The vice president has chosen the emperor approach, revealing his
Ronald Kessler is the New York Times best selling author of books
on the Secret Service, FBI and CIA.