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TODAY   |  January 29, 2014

Biden: Undecided, but ‘I could make a good president’

Vice President Joe Biden tells Savannah Guthrie that though he’s “confident” he could be a good president, “it’s a very different decision whether or not to run.” He said the State of the Union Tuesday made it clear the president is “ready to work with Congress.”

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> biden joins us now. good morning. thank you for being with us.

>> good morning. happy to be here, savannah.

>> last night's speech where you see big ideas in the states of union addresses, this one was different. i thought we saw more of a laundry list of modest proposals. is this the president who has scaled down his ambitions?

>> no, this is a president who wants to finish a job. you know, everybody talks about a lost year that we had. well, truth of the matter is, cut the deficit in half, energy prices are down, we're moving toward energy independence . but the big deal here is now how do we open it up for the middle class to get them back on their feet the way they were before this great recession? so he talked about all those things that can do that.

>> of course, if he's going to act without congress . and i think that was a big part of the speech last night, isn't he limited in what he can accomplish? the "new york times" put it well, without working with congress , he can't raise the minimum wage for most workers, can't overhaul the social security system , grant status to illegal immigrants. so is he limiting himself by saying i'll act without congress ?

>> no, that's not what he said. he said i'll work with the congress , i want to work with the congress . and i think you're seeing more cooperation with the congress this year than you have the past five years, number one. number two, he said there's a lot of other avenues i can move, as well. for example, on minimum wage , he pointed out all the states that moved ahead on minimum wage and not waiting around for the congress to act. but we want the congress to act. he talked about a need for us to go out there and deal with early education and pay equity for women. we're ready to work with the congress . and i think we're going to be able to work, for example. i sat there with speaker boehner last night and we talked before the president spoke. and i think we're going to be able to get movement on immigration.

>> let's change topics a little bit. i wanted to ask you about sochi. the president gave a shout out to our olympians last night in the speech. do you feel the russians have been fully cooperative with our u.s. officials in making sure these games are safe?

>> well, the russians are doing everything to make the games safe. they're using every tool at their disposal to make it safe. we always look for a little more from whatever the host country is. but there's been a travel advisory put out by the state department which apparently says, look, keep your eyes and ears open. let the state department know you're going to be there, any change in circumstances occurs so you can be notified. and just keep your eyes open . but i was thinking about it last night when he said that. i remember right after 9/11, all the concerns about the game in athens and whether or not the greek government was cooperating. i think it's a state of play these days when major international events are staged. we feel good about where we are right now. but we've got to stay very vigilant.

>> really quickly on that before i leave this topic, would you send your own family to sochi?

>> sure, i'd send my own family with the same caveats. make sure they were very vigilant, kept their eyes open , listen -- register with the state department and pay very much attention.

>> i wanted to ask --

>> -- to their surroundings.

>> i wanted to ask you about former defense secretary robert gates ' recent book. he had choice words for you. and said among other things he thought you were wrong on most national security issues for the past 20 years. and i'm not sure we've gotten a chance to hear your response to that, sir.

>> well, i haven't publicly responded. look, i like bill gates , he said he's a great man of integrity. bob gates and i have agreed on almost every major foreign policy since vietnam. we had a different view in vietnam, different view on bosnia, on iran-contra, that's one of the reasons i voted against him on the cia. and we've had a different view on afghanistan. and, you know, the president stated our position clearly last night. it's time to end that war in afghanistan . bob gates and i disagree on almost every major issue, and i'm very comfortable with my position. i let the american public judge who's been right or wrong, bob gates or me, and history will judge ultimately. but he's a fine man.

>> very quickly, i won't ask you if you're going to run for president, even when you'll decide. i'll ask a different question. in your heart, sir, in your heart, do you want to be president?

>> in my heart, i'm confident that i could make a good president. it's a very different decision to decide whether or not to run for president. and there's plenty of time to do that. i've not made a decision to run, not made a decision not to run. in the meantime, i've got a job. and coincidentally, everything that i'm about, the assignment the president gave me to help move employment in america and infrastructure and all these other things are the very things that would be -- i'd be doing whether i was running for president or not running for president.

>> well, vice president joe biden , always good to have you here, sir. come back and tell us if you have any news on that, okay?

>> okay, savannah, thank you very much.

>> thank you.

>> good questions.

>> yeah.

>> counselor guthrie.

>> natalie's here with more on the scandal tied to the