It's surely not worth trying to contemplate the idea that Joe Biden could be a viable presidential candidate in 2016--despite Politico's long feature this morning saying that the vice president's camp appears somewhat serious about the notion. (Literally, Joe Biden? Give me a break.)

But these lines jump out at me, talking about how Biden is seen by Obama aides:

Obama aides, by and large, are amused rather than threatened by Biden, although they are none too eager to reprise the veep vs. White House storyline in the “West Wing” TV show or the real-life Bill Clinton-Al Gore drama that inspired it.

But if Biden was picked in part because he posed no threat to the man at the top of the ticket, he’s proven his value as Obama’s ambassador to white, working-class Middle America and as a surrogate who can throw a political punch without appearing mean-spirited.

The first part makes sense: Sure, those close to Obama find Biden amusing.

But I'm not quite sure how the second part follows. Has Biden really "proven his value as Obama's ambassador to white, work-class Middle America and as a surrogate who can throw a political punch without appearing mean-spirited"? When did he do all that?

The Politico article does not say. The only thing the article does do is back up the first point. There's this: "There’s Biden’s own reputation as a gaffe machine. And there’s the blunt reality that Biden, for all his energy and affability, has never been terribly popular nationally." And later, another reference to Biden's gaffes: "Stellar staff has always been Biden’s hallmark, a fact that belies his avuncular, gaffe-prone public image."

Indeed, it's actually pretty hard to understand how he might have helped Obama since taking office.

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