Washington – During a closed-door meeting Sunday, President Barack Obama asked Vice President Joe Biden what he knew about how a provision allocating $10 million to the purchase of Skittles, a popular candy, made its way into Mr. Obama’s proposed budget. The two men had just given a press briefing regarding health care initiatives, and an active microphone was left behind in the room. Therefore, a portion of the meeting was recorded.
“Joe, I’m just going to ask you flat out,” Mr. Obama is heard saying. “Did you put that provision in there? The Skittles thing?”
“Me? No. No way, Chief,” Biden said. “I would never.”
“Well, someone put it in there, Joe. And it wasn’t me.”
“Well, you know, now that you mention it,” Biden said, “I did see [Chief of Staff Rahm] Emanuel looking through the budget pretty intently. And he had a kind of look in his eye. Like maybe he wanted to do something. You know?”
“Uh huh,” Mr. Obama replied.
“Plus, plus, I happen to know he has a huge sweet tooth. Emanuel. Like a junkie with the candy and stuff like that. Can’t get enough.”
“Joe, you have Skittles in your pocket right now,” Mr. Obama pointed out. “They’re falling out. I can see them.”
“What, these? Oh, yeah, but I’m… I’m holding these for him. For Emanuel. They’re not mine,” Biden said. “See, that’s what I’m saying. He stashes this stuff everywhere!”
“Joe, this is just really sad,” Mr. Obama said. The microphone was apparently discovered at that point, and switched off or taken from the room. The last audible snippet is Mr. Biden saying, “Mr. President, if I was going to eat any candy, it’d be the Charleston Chew. Now, that’s a candy.” But a White House aide who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter, said that he believes Mr. Biden did eventually confess to inserting the provision into the budget.
“My assumption is that Vice President Biden must have broken down and admitted what he did at some point,” the aide said. “The president can be very persistent. But beyond that, everyone knew it was Joe, because the slip of paper he inserted into the budget document still had the ‘From the Desk of Joe Biden’ thing at the top of it. So it wasn’t really a tough case to crack.”