In an exclusive interview airing on "This Week" Sunday, Vice President-elect Joe Biden told ABC's George Stephanopoulos that he is going to chair a "middle-class task force" that will determine how the Obama administration's policies are affecting America's economic midsection.
"What it's going to do, it's going to include other Cabinet members, including Labor, HHS, OMB, Education," Biden told Stephanopoulos in his first interview since winning the 2008 election.
"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," he said.
In a wide-ranging interview on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," Biden gave his most extensive explanation to date on his role in the transition, and what specifically President-elect Barack Obama wants him to do after the inauguration.
Biden said he got a commitment from Obama that he'll be "in the room" on every major economic political, and foreign policy decision.
"When Barack Obama, Sen. Barack Obama then talked to me about being his vice president I said we have to – let's talk and we spent three-and-a-half hours talking and one of the things I asked was, I said I don't want to be picked unless you're picking me for my judgment," he said.
"I don't want to be the guy that goes out and has a specific assignment – an important assignment to reinvent government, which Al Gore did a great job of. Dealing with some specific discrete item. I said I want a commitment from you that in every important decision you'll make, every critical decision, economic and political as well as foreign policy, I'll get to be in the room."
During the interview, Stephanopoulos asked Biden if he had to convince Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., to accept the secretary of state nomination.
"Well, I don't know whether I played a key role or not but I have had a longstanding relationship with Sen. 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," Biden told Stephanopoulos.
"There was a lot swirling around before she actually got asked and so she is an old friend, I talked with her all the time. I have continued. There hasn't been a time since she's been in office I haven't – not many days go by I don't talk to her. So it wasn't so much convincing but they wanted to know my perspective and I gave my perspective," he said.
On his role in the Obama administration, Biden said, "I think we should restore the balance here."
He said, "The role of the vice president of the United States as I see it is to give the president of the United States the best, sagest, most accurate, most insightful advice and recommendations he or she can make to a president to help them make some of the very, very important decisions that have to be made."