Speaking to a crowd in Ohio today, Sen. Joseph Biden briefly turned his focus to what happens after the election and, in the process, provided a peek into what the Obama campaign is currently doing on Capitol Hill to prep for a potential victory.
"We cannot wait until Barack is elected," said the Delaware Democrat. "I've been talking to the leadership in the Senate. We need in the next three months to do what Barack is proposing. "
Biden then went on to list two meta-priorities for a hypothetical Obama administration: enacting legislation to buoy the middle class -- "Everything we propose in the economy is targeting the middle class. Not because we think it is fair, but because no country grows economically when the middle class is sinking" -- and restoring American credibility abroad.
The Obama-Biden ticket has been diligent in making sure that a transition process to the White House -- should the Senator win the election -- be as smooth as possible. As the Huffington Post reported last week, the campaign has already set up units of six-to-eight people to handle vetting and policy papers for each government agency. Biden's remarks suggest they are taking similar steps to deal with Congress.
It is one of those looking-ahead moments that campaign's are loathe to admit, for fear that they will be criticized as presumptuous. But it should not come as too much of a surprise. A high-ranking Democrat on the Hill acknowledged that the presidential campaign and congressional leadership have been in regular touch, "as exemplified by what happened in the bailout." But he did not specify what the current conversations concerned.
It should be noted that leading Obama's Hill-relations effort is Phil Schiliro, Congressman Henry Waxman's former chief of staff and one of the most well regarded behind-the-scenes operators in the party.
"He is one of the most veteran Hill staffers in our party," said the aide. "If you talk to anyone on the house side he did a tremendous job running Waxman's office."