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You may have wondered, "What does the Vice President actually do?" We've rounded up some photos from the last few months of Vice President Joe Biden to help answer that question. Here, on September 25, 2009, Biden swears in Senator-designate Paul Kirk to Ted Kennedy's Massachusetts Senate seat.

Newscom/UPI/Alexis C. Glenn




September 25, 2009: Vice President Joe Biden gets on board a U.S. Coast Guard Helicopter before taking off to survey flood damage in Marietta, GA.

Whitehouse.gov




September 23, 2009: Biden speaks to senior citizens about health care reform at Leisure World in Silver Spring, MD.

Newscom/UPI/Kevin Dietsch




September 17, 2009: Biden eats lunch with troops at the Pegasus dining facility in Camp Liberty, Iraq.

Whitehouse.gov




September 16, 2009: Joe Biden holds a press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Malaki at the Prime Minister's Residence in Baghdad.

Whitehouse.gov




September 10, 2009: Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress, shakes hands with Vice President Biden at the White House.

Newscom/Ma Zhancheng




September 7, 2009: Biden and Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) kick-off a Labor Day parade in Pittsburgh, PA.

Newscom/UPI Photo/Archie Carpenter




August 19, 2009: Biden takes a trip to Jackson Middle School in Orlando, FL, to talk to teachers about the U.S. Recovery Act's impact on education.

Newscom/Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/MCT




August 18, 2009: Biden jokes with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton before a press conference by President Barack Obama and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Newscom/White House via CNP




August 3, 2009: Vice President Biden shakes hands with Marine Corps Staff Sgt. James Miller at a Fairfax, VA, event to mark the implementation of the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

Newscom/Roger L. Wollenberg / Pool via CNP




July 28, 2009: Vice President Biden announces $10.9 million in Recovery Act funding for the Philadelphia Police Department. That money put fifty officers on the street.

Newscom/Zumawire




May 27, 2009: The Air Force Academy welcomes Vice President Joe Biden to its 2009 graduation ceremony.

Newscom/UPI/Gary Caskey




May 22, 2009: Lebanon's Defense Minister Elias Murr shows off a tank to Biden during their review of American equipment donated to Lebanon.

Whitehouse.gov




May 22, 2009: Vice President Joe Biden and National Security Advisor Tony Blinken enjoy a helicopter landing in Kosovo.

Whitehouse.gov




May 14, 2009 : Vice President Joe Biden speaks in San Diego County with SEAL recruits.

Newscom/Zumawire




April 24, 2009: Vice President Biden and President Barack Obama practice putting on the White House putting green.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




April 6, 2009: Vice President Biden throws out the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day at Camden Yards for the Baltimore Orioles.

Newscom/iconphotos




April 2, 2009: Joe The Firefighter? Biden receives a jacket during the National Fire And Emergency Services Dinner in Washington.

Newscom/UPI Photos/Alexis C. Glenn




March 30, 2009: Biden attends a multilateral meeting at Casa Presidencial in San Jose, Costa Rica. Front row, left-to-right: Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom, Vice President Biden, Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, El Salvadorean then-President Tony Saca, El Salavadorean then-President-elect Mauricio Funes, Panamanian President Martin Torrijos. Second row, left to right: Honduran then-Vice President Aristides Mejia, Belizean Prime Minster Dean Barrow, Nicaraguan Assistant Foreign Minister Manuel Coronel.

Whitehouse.gov




March 28, 2009: Vice President Joe Biden parades past a Chilean military guard at the Chilean Presidential palace, La Moneda, for dinner with President Michelle Bachelet.

Whitehouse.gov




March 13, 2009: Vice President Biden and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis indoctrinating teaching kids at Solis's swearing-in ceremony.

Whitehouse.gov




March 13 2009: At Washington's Union Station, Vice President Joe Biden announces an increase in Amtrak funding. As a Senator, Biden used the Acela regional train to commute home to Delaware.

Newscom/Sipaphotos




March 10, 2009: Vice President Joe Biden attends a NATO meeting in Brussels.

Newscom/Maxphotos




February 27, 2009: Vice President Biden and Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) took the train to the first meeting of the Middle Class Task Force, which Biden chairs.

Whitehouse.gov




February 23, 2009: George Clooney and Vice President Joe Biden discuss Sudan-US policy.

Newscom/zumawire

Earlier this week, the Washington Post announced a contest to hire its next opinion columnist: "America's Next Top Model Great Pundit."

After 10 contestants are selected from a pool of applicants, they'll compete in challenges "that test the skills a modern pundit must possess." Those skills include writing on deadline, answering reader questions and "holding their own" onscreen. There's no mention of other skills that might determine a columnist for one of the country's most prestigious papers: writing well, say, or reporting.

During those challenges, a panel of "Post personalities will offer kudos and catcalls," but the ultimate decisions -- "who gets another chance at a byline and who has to shut down their laptop" -- will be facilitated by reader votes.

Where have we heard that before?

Read More →

We knew there was another shoe waiting to drop in the story of Nevada GOP senator John Ensign's affair with a top aide's wife.

And now it's dropped. A lengthy investigation by the New York Times reveals that Ensign was far more involved than previously known in trying to get a job for Doug Hampton -- his mistress's husband -- after the affair had been discovered. And that Ensign then used his influence in government to try to do favors for Doug Hampton's new employers -- apparently in violation of lobbying rules.

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This article from the Las Vegas Review-Journal is making the rounds, and it seems at a glance like great news for reformers.

"We are going to have a public option before this bill goes to the president's desk," Reid said in a conference call with constituents, referring to some kind of government plan. "I believe the public option is so vitally important to create a level playing field and prevent the insurance companies from taking advantage of us," he said.


True enough, he did say that. But speaking to reporters today, he also said, "Remember, a public option is a relative term. There's a public option, there's a public option, and there's a public option, and we're going to look at each of them."

Things aren't always what they seem.

Late update: A Reid aid says, "Sen. Reid believes that health insurance reform must include a mechanism to keep insurers honest, create competition and keep costs down. He feels that the public option is the best way to do that. While we don't know exactly what that option will look like, Sen. Reid, working with President Obama, will ensure that whatever is included in the final bill does just that."

So there you have it.

One of the nice peculiarities of the Senate Finance Committee is that they base all of their deliberations on bills and amendments written in plain English. So if you want to see a version of Sen. Tom Carper's public option alternative, here it is.

It would allow states to pick one of the following three options:

1. Participate as grantees in the CO-OP program and apply for seed funding. 2. Open up that state's employee benefits plan. 3. Create a state administered health insurance plan with the option of banding together with other states to create a regional insurance compact.

And provide any seed money needed to accomplish the chosen goal, so long as it's deficit neutral. Wonder how the administration feels about this? So do I, and I'm trying to find out.

I'm also still unsure if and when this will be introduced, but I'll keep you posted.

The attack ads are flying in the Virginia gubernatorial race, with Democrat Creigh Deeds continuing to hammer Republican Bob McDonnell over his hard-right grad school thesis that attacked working women, and the GOP going after Deeds on taxes.

The new Deeds radio ad features a phone call between two sisters, talking about how one of them just had a good job interview:

Sister 1: Good benefits? You know Mom's gonna ask...

Sister 2: Pretty good! Health care includes mammograms, cancer screenings...and the salary is what men at my level make.

Sister 1: So basically nothing Bob McDonnell supports?


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Gov. Jon Corzine (D-NJ) is changing pace slightly from his recent barrage of negative ads against Republican challenger Chris Christie, with a full minute-long ad extolling his own positives.

The polls have shown Christie's lead over Corzine narrowing, but it's come almost entirely from Christie losing support to the independent candidate or the undecided column -- Corzine has not been picking up new support. This ad could potentially work in that direction, now that he's loosened some voters from Christie.

At the same time as Corzine talks about his accomplishments in dealing with a trouble economy, he seems to subtly admit there have been some imperfections: "But there's more to do, it's a work in progress, and we have more to do to get our fiscal house in order. I think I can do that. I've learned a lot, I've done a lot."

With efforts to stop climate change back in the news, the Washington Post's George Will has re-started his efforts to bamboozle on the topic.

In a new column, Will denounces the "alarmists" on the issue, and, as if this were 1987, calls for "a national commission appointed to assess the evidence about climate change." Seriously.

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In case Rep. Alan Grayson's own statements weren't clear enough, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has made it crystal: There will be no apology for his remarks on the House floor. Watch:



Grayson's fortitude in the face of GOP attacks and constant press attention have won great acclaim on the left. His campaign has raised over $100,000 in the past day alone.

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