BIDEN: What it's going to do, it's going to include other Cabinet members, including Labor, HHS, OMB, Education, etc, and my focus is going to be, I'm going to chair this group and it is designed to do the one thing we use as a yardstick of economic success of our administration, is the middle class growing? Is the middle class getting better? Is the middle class no longer being left behind?
And we'll look at everything from college affordability to after school programs. The things that affect people's daily lives. I will be the guy honchoing that policy.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Will you then have line authority? If you determine that a policy …
STEPHANOPOULOS: … isn't serving the middle class you'll have the authority to change it?
BIDEN: No, what I have the authority to do is to try to get a consensus among those people I just mentioned. If in fact there is no consensus, go to the president of the United States and say, Mr. President, I think we should be doing this, Cabinet member so and so thinks that, you're going to have to resolve what it is we think we should do.
But we're going to present him with a package as to what are the main elements of restoring the middle class. For example, I've been asked by the president and I've been meeting separately and collectively with the foreign policy team. That is the national security advisor, the secretary of state, the secretary of defense. One of my tasked responsibilities is to work with that group to come up with a baseline for the president as to what we view the circumstance we're inheriting in Iraq and Afghanistan and Pakistan so that we don't accept, we may or may not accept, all these reports are being done, stating – let me give you an example in Iraq.
Iraq, there is a great deal of focus and has been on the military side of the equation, very little focus on the political resolution in Iraq. One of the jobs that I've been asked help honcho is to get a consensus or get an agreement or disagreement, if that's (ph) what it is, among the foreign policy team.
So we the new administration have a priority set that we're going to start with and a baseline from which we're going to start as to what we think we need to do.
STEPHANOPOULOS: How do you prevent that from overlapping with the job of the national security adviser?
BIDEN: Well, the way you do that is it's ultimately the national security adviser's job. I'm just the guy that's honchoing this baseline study. And so that requires coordination and look, as you well know, the secretary of state, the secretary of defense and the national security adviser have their hands full on a whole range of issues. So there are going to be things that have cross jurisdiction a lot of the time.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I was told by several people in a position to know that you also played a key role in convincing Senator Clinton and President Clinton that this secretary of state job was a good idea, that it made sense.
BIDEN: Well, I don't know whether I played a key role or not but I have had a longstanding relationship with Senator Clinton. She's one of my close friends and when this came forward I did talk to her, she sought me out, I sought her out as well to assure her that this was real. And that I thought that …
STEPHANOPOULOS: She was skeptical.