NBC's Al Roker Pals Around With Biden, Jokes About Their 'Bromance'

After waiving and yelling like a groupie at President Obama and Vice President Biden back in January, Today weather anchor Al Roker palled around with Biden in a friendly interview that aired on Tuesday's Today show.

"You've got a thing. You and the Vice President. You've got a thing," joked co-host Willie Geist. "It's a bromance," responded Roker. "He's terrific. He's terrific." Roker also asked Biden if a government shutdown could affect disaster relief, and if extreme weather was the "new normal."

The interview was conducted after Biden flew over the flood disaster area in Colorado. Would Roker have been so thick with Dick Cheney, or with Bush after he flew over hurricane-ravaged New Orleans?

"Some estimates, two billion dollars worth of damage here. You know, facing a possibility of a government shutdown, how are we going to fund this? How is this going to happen?" Roker asked Biden. The Vice President assuaged his fears but subtly smacked Republicans who voted to defund Obamacare.

"[I]f there's a shutdown – and god forbid – there's no need for a shut down. If it were to happen it would not affect any of the recovery work going on right now," Biden answered.

Roker also asked about the weather: "You guys have been going to these – it seems like with a pretty regular, in the last 18 months, Sandy, Moore, Oklahoma, you name it, Isaac, Irene, now this. Are we looking at the new normal?"

The Today panel loved Biden recalling his encounter with Roker at the Inauguration during this exchange:

BIDEN: I got so much trouble for coming over in the Inauguration Day parade with you. I got so much heat. I was over there going hey Joe, hey Joe, so I walked out and they said hey that Biden, he's running for president. He must be. He went to see Al Roker.

ROKER: The invitation is open at any time for you to come do the Today show with us.

BIDEN: I may need a job, soon. I don't know. Thank you, Al.

ROKER: You'd be great. Thank you sir. Thank you so much.

Willie Geist loved Biden's talk. "I love the way he talks, 'man I saw Roker, man. I couldn't resist it. I had to go over and shake his hand.' Secret Service is scrambling around. Incredible."

"It's the handshake that will never go away," said co-host Matt Lauer of the Inauguration handshake.

Below is a transcript of the segment, which aired on Today on September 24 at 7:14 a.m. EDT:

[7:14]

MATT LAUER: We told you at the top of the show, Joe Biden, the Vice President, was in Colorado on Monday to assess the severe flood damage left by those torrential rains that hit a lot of the state last week.

AL ROKER: That's right. I got to catch up with the Vice President and FEMA director William Fugate at Buckley Air Force base in Aurora just after the tour over the flood ravaged area touched down.

(Video Clip)

JOE BIDEN, Vice President of the United States: Good to see you, Al.

ROKER: Good to see you.

In that fly over, what did you see and how did it affect you?

BIDEN: The thing that I saw was so much isolated devastation. Ride up through some of those small areas and imagine 20 feet of water coming down there, ripping out entire highways. I'm sure you saw it. And so the isolation is what impressed me and the people who are stuck there –  

ROKER: Mr. VP, what do you see as a critical need now?

BIDEN: I think critical need now is to get people housing. Because there's a lot of people who are just stranded. And a person loses their home, they have no idea what to do. You don't get to all of these alphabet agencies you hear about. You walk into a FEMA – there's 13, I think – 12 or 13.

WILLIAM CRAIG FUGATE, FEMA directorthe: Recovery center.

BIDEN: And what you find is there's someone there to tell you what you need.

ROKER: A lot of these folks don't have flood insurance. What happens to them?

FUGATE: Well right now the first step is register with FEMA. We think that for a lot of folks we can provide them renters' assistance. Get them a place to stay while they go through the next steps.

ROKER: Some estimates, two billion dollars worth of damage here. You know, facing a possibility of a government shutdown, how are we going to fund this? How is this going to happen?

BIDEN: Well the first thing, all the emergencies piece is funded. There's a $6 billion fund. But right now, anyone listening to this broadcast should not worry that FEMA is going – if there's a shutdown – and god forbid – there's no need for a shut down. If it were to happen it would not affect any of the recovery work going on right now.

FUGATE: All of the immediate response, Congress fully funds this. This is why they call it no year-end money. So just because we hit the end of calendar year, there's still money in those accounts to operate. So it's not tied to that.

ROKER: You guys have been going to these – it seems like with a pretty regular, in the last 18 months, Sandy, Moore, Oklahoma, you name it, Isaac, Irene, now this. Are we looking at the new normal?

BIDEN: We can't attribute any one thing to global warming but there are all of these weather events seem more severe and more pervasive.

ROKER: In this kind of situation, what's the best thing you can tell people at this point?

BIDEN: We're not going away. After the camera is gone, after we're not covering this anymore, take a look at where we've been before. We're not leaving. We'll do everything possible to make people whole.

(End Video Clip)

GUTHRIE: Meantime, I heard some other topics came up with the Vice President, including the big handshake heard around the country at the Inauguration?

ROKER: Yeah, he did bring it up.

GUTHRIE: Let's take a look.

(Video Clip)

ROKER: Mr. Vice President! Hey, how are you doing?! Come on!

They won't let you! Are you – that's it! Yes!

BIDEN: I got so much trouble for coming over in the Inauguration Day parade with you. I got so much heat. I was over there going hey Joe, hey Joe, so I walked out and they said hey that Biden, he's running for president. He must be. He went to see Al Roker.

ROKER: The invitation is open at any time for you to come do the Today show with us.

BIDEN: I may need a job, soon. I don't know. Thank you, Al.

ROKER: You'd be great. Thank you sir. Thank you so much.

(End Video Clip)

GUTHRIE: You tried, Al. You tried.

ROKER: I keep plugging.

LAUER: It's the handshake that will never go away.

GUTHRIE: We heard your telling of it time and time again. We never heard the Vice President's telling of it.

ROKER: Obviously it left a big impression.

(...)

[9:08]

WILLIE GEIST: Now Al, I just mentioned you're back from Colorado. You got the chance to interview the Vice President of the United States.

AL ROKER: Yeah. He took a tour along with Craig Fugate from FEMA of the flooding out there in Colorado. And he was really instrumental in making people feel better and helping to cut through some red tape. So I think people really appreciated him being out there.

NATALIE MORALES: You did re-issue the invite, though, to get him to come here and host the show with us. Take a look.

(Video Clip)

ROKER: The invitation is open at any time for you to come do the Today show with us.

BIDEN: I may need a job, soon. I don't know. Thank you, Al.

ROKER: You'd be great. Thank you sir. Thank you so much.

(End Video Clip)

ROKER: He didn't say no.

GEIST: He didn't say no.

ROKER: He has not said no.

MORALES: I think that door is wide open still. So come on Mr. Vice President.

GEIST: You've got a thing. You and the Vice President. You've got a thing.

ROKER: It's a bromance.

When a guy steps out of an Inauguration Parade to shake someone's hand, that's more than a bromance.

ROKER: And he keeps talking about how he got in trouble with the Secret Service. He was telling Craig Fugate about hey, this guy, he got me in trouble. "You will come over. Come over, Vice President Biden. Shake my hand. Mua-ha-ha–ha."

MEL B: Oh my word, you're on fire today, Al.

ROKER: He's terrific. He's terrific.

GEIST: I love the way he talks, "man I saw Roker, man. I couldn't resist it. I had to go over and shake his hand." Secret Service is scrambling around. Incredible.
 

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014