Senator John McClellanAfter [Stanley] McChrystal got the job in June, [Robert] Gates said casually at a White House meeting, «By the way, Stan thinks he should do a reassessment. He thinks he should do a full-blown report and tell you what’s happening because things are worse than Stan thought they were.» Obama just listened. But Biden said, «Whoa. Whoa.  Whoa.»

He was chomping at the bit, practically jumping out of his chair as he told the group that he had an old story to tell them from the Senate of the 1970s. It was about Senator John McClellan of Arkansas, who had taken part in the Army-McCarthy hearings and later chaired the first committee investigating organized crime.

As a freshman senator in his early 30s, Biden went to see McClellan to try to win a spot on the criminal law subcommittee. «Mr. Chairman, should I send you a letter?» Biden asked. McClellan took out a cigar, and now the vice president was mustering his best imitation of an Arkansas drawl: «A bit of adviiiiice. Nevuh send a chairman a lettuh he doesn’t want to receive.»

Biden’s view was that McChrystal’s report was a letter they didn’t want to receive, especially since it would be submitted before the Afghan election. It made no sense: conditions would be different after Karzai won or lost. Why do this now? He had warned the president in March that the Pentagon was going to figure out a way to get more troops, and now he was being proven right.

Jo­nat­han Alter (2010) – The Pro­mise. Pre­si­dent Obama, Year One. (s. 371).