President Barack Obama called Biden "very valuable" during a profile that aired Sunday on CBS News' "60 Minutes."
"You know, Joe's not afraid to tell me what he thinks," Obama said. "And that's exactly what I need, and exactly what I want."
In a wide-ranging profile, Biden said he remains physically affectionate with his two adult sons, 40-year-old Beau and 39-year-old Hunter Biden, and doesn't shy from calling them "honey."
"I think they feel good about it," Biden said. "When we see each other we hug and kiss."
He said he is proud of his sons, including Beau, a captain in the Army National Guard serving in Iraq. But Biden also said he worries about his son's safety.
"I've ridden home with too many dead young men and women in caskets and it's just impossible to not associate with that," said Biden, whose daughter and first wife died in a 1972 automobile accident. "I mean, you think as a parent, God forbid, how would I, how would I respond?"
He said his approach as a father is simple: "The way I deal with it is I don't think about it that way. I'm proud of him. He's a good man."
Biden, who was among the least affluent members of the Senate, said his economic standing hasn't changed since taking office as the nation's No. 2 official.
"Now he's the poorest vice president," his wife, Jill Biden, said with a laugh.
She downplayed her day job teaching English at Northern Virginia Community College.
"I'm no different than most American women who are raising children and working," Mrs. Biden said. Her husband said she brings home papers to grade every day.
Biden and Obama both said they talk about the vice president's sometimes colorful gaffes.
"If Joe was off message on a particular day, usually I don't have to bring it up," Obama said. "He's the first one to come to me and say: 'You know what? I'm not sure that's exactly how we want to position ourselves.'
"The flip side is: If I'm off message, he's not going to be bashful about saying, "You know, Mr. President, I think ...,'" Obama added.