August 24th, 2008
05:27 PM ET
12 years ago

Analysis: Biden's role is filling gaps and taking shots

Biden’s job will be to help fill perceived gaps in Obama's résumé and serve as Sen. John McCain's chief critic.

Biden’s job will be to help fill perceived gaps in Obama's résumé and serve as Sen. John McCain's chief critic.

DENVER (CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama, who chose a foreign policy expert with roots in Pennsylvania and an appeal to blue-collar voters as his running mate, wasted little time explaining his decision Saturday.

In choosing Sen. Joe Biden, Obama got what he described as a "scrappy kid from Scranton" - a battle-tested politician whose job will be to help fill perceived gaps in Obama's résumé and serve as Sen. John McCain's chief critic.

Biden wasted no time in taking jabs at McCain after being introduced by Obama at the rollout ceremony in Springfield, Illinois.

But Biden delivered the blows in classic "Joe style," saying McCain is "genuinely a friend of mine" and noting that the Arizona senator "served our country with extraordinary courage."

Then Biden unloaded on McCain, accusing him of giving "in to the right wing of his party" and then taking a dig at him for owning several homes.

Biden said he has known McCain for 35 years - enough time to know the good and bad about his "friend." The unanswered question is whether McCain's Senate colleague - turned Obama's running mate - will continue to amp up the criticism.

An Obama aide says that Biden will be charged with helping to explain to the "American people where Obama comes from, and what his vision is for the country," as well as lay out "the choice in this election." 

Watch more on Biden and the road ahead.

While Obama talks about running a 50-state campaign, Biden is likely to be a frequent visitor to Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan, where his Irish heritage, Catholic religion and lunch pail appeal could play well with skeptical voters: Reagan Democrats and Hillary Clinton supporters.

Biden and Obama won't go unchallenged.

Within hours of CNN breaking the news early Saturday that Obama had chosen Biden, the McCain campaign released an ad highlighting Biden's criticism of Obama. The 30-second spot features an August 2007 Democratic primary debate during which Biden was asked if he stood by his criticism that Obama is not yet ready to be president.

"I think that I stand by the statement," Biden responded.

The ad closes with Biden praising McCain, saying, "I would be honored to run with or against John McCain, because I think the country would be better off."

The Obama aide dismissed the Biden comment, saying "there may have been nuances and points of disagreement," and sought to highlight the sparring between McCain and Mitt Romney, who is said to be on McCain's vice presidential shortlist.

But McCain hasn't picked Romney yet, and even if he does, an aide for the Arizona Republican said to expect to see that clip run through November 4.

"It doesn't matter who we pick; there isn't going to be any footage or any video of John McCain's running mate saying that they would be honored to support Barack Obama for president because the country would be better off," the aide said.

McCain called Biden on Saturday congratulating him on being selected as Obama's running mate - the kind of call made between "friends."

Don't expect any more calls until a winner is declared in November.

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soundoff (95 Responses)
  1. tedious898're special. I'm doing my best to avoid insulting people that think the way you do.

    Any, Black people or African Americans only comprise about 12% of our total population (I think). So if Obama truly challenges McCain, alot of White people or caucasians would be voting for Obama.

    My guess is you say send the Blacks back to africa. What are you going to do about the white people? Think about it and get back me

    August 24, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  2. ran

    We the people are now going to get our country back. Obama will be our next POTUS. All who want to join us welcome. The times they are a changing and hope will defeat fear/hate once again.

    August 24, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  3. Brenda

    Obama's campain is so intelligent that anybody have realized it yet...Common guys don't you undersatnd what is going on* If not this is because non of you follow the race properly. Because as an outsider I saw it from the beginning of the primaries and let me tell you this, that manObama is very intelligent,kind, and honnest. You see how the way he handle it, so imagine what he can do for you, everything. There will be no president efffective like him. And no onther country will try to put him down. You are lucky guys

    August 24, 2008 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  4. Vince

    Make that another Democrat who will not vote for "SMUGS AND PLUGS" Smugs=Obama Plugs=Biden

    August 24, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  5. Ron democrat turned independent

    just a coincidence McCain finally gets bush to approve the surge and Presto everything falls into place. should of listen to him long ago. just a coincidence McCain finaly gets bush to lift the ban on offshore drilling the voters approve and presto the price of oil goes down. should of listen to him long ago. obama said IT AS ALWAYS BEEN MY POSITION. I HAVE SAID FROM THE BEGINING. that my friends is a lot of BS

    August 24, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  6. Brian (black in VA)

    90% of the American people have already decided who they will vote for because of the issues and policies of the candidates. The other 10% will decide who will be president, and basically, it will become a popularity contest. After reading some of these comments from the "undecideds", WE ARE DOOMED. Some of you are idiots. The rest of you hope to be one day.

    August 24, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  7. Who Cares?

    Baby Obama and the Joe Daddy Show!

    August 24, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  8. Ron democrat turned independent

    battle tested excuse me every time he was tested he failed miserably

    August 24, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  9. johnt

    could sen. biden fill in this gap. rev wright as been ship off to Africa. why?

    August 24, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  10. willieC

    Biden is a boring washed-up hot head. No Clinton for VP = No Vote - Go McCain!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 24, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  11. Delaware

    vote Democratic for a real change.

    August 24, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  12. Ron democrat turned independent

    you tell them the same thing Merle Haggard told them in his song. if you don't like it leave it.

    August 24, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  13. JB

    Note to self: Remove all yellow suits and hats from closet..

    August 24, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  14. tom, mississippi

    blah blah blah.

    blah blah blah some more.

    i'm blahblahblah, and i approve of this blahbing.

    i bet CNN will print this one.

    August 24, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  15. Truth

    Biden is a great fit on the ticket. His experience as leader of the Judiciary Committee and Foreign Relations Committee will prove invaluable to Obama's vice presidential council. Biden adds a world of knowledge, strength, and balance to VP.

    Obama/Biden '08
    i Si se puede !

    August 24, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  16. Janice

    Joe will be good at taking Cheap Shots.

    Joe who campaigns have been funded by Lawyers is a voice for those snakes,

    Barack peaked way too soon and Joe Blow is all talk talk talk.

    McCain will pick Romeny and cost to victory and we will all live happily ever after.

    August 24, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  17. polar bear

    finally. This is the cnn blog. i got lost there for a while. time to to ask for respect from BOTH sides now. gonna read the blog.

    August 24, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  18. e.

    Correction: liar (I think)

    August 24, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  19. polar bear

    OK. Dems are a big-tent party. We're sorry you feel badly about HIllary losing, and you are welcome to join the party. If you truly think McCain represents you, then by all means, vote for him, but why hang around and keep insulting Dems who are hoping to unite this weekend?

    I wish HIllary would open a blog, and explain about how she said some things that were maybe somewhat not true, like all politicians do when they run for office. Hopefully, she will convince you that she really, really wants you to vote for Obama. If not, i wonder if you ever would have.

    As i said on another blog that was full of Obama haters, good luck and i'm glad you are politically active.

    August 24, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  20. El Kababa

    A democracy is limited by the quality of its voters, and that is democracy's biggest problem.

    August 24, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
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