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

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

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. TG

    A very logical VP choice for Senator Obama. Unfortunately for 18+ million voters, it simply would not have worked for Senator Clinton to be the VP choice. The most complicating factor in choosing Senator Clinton for VP was her husband – former president Bill Clinton. The animosity between the Obama and Clinton camps notwithstanding, it would have been imprudent for Senator Obama to have what in essence would have been a 'shadow Clinton government' in his administration. So, while Obama-Clinton would have certainly been a dream ticket, it would have been a nightmare to govern with.

    August 24, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  2. Steven

    The Biden pick effectively eliminates the claims of no experience.
    The zBiden pick effectively opens the door to criticize the claims for "CHANGE". Biden is a 6-term Senator! 36 years years as a Washington insider!!! That is 12 more years than mcCain!!! Were's the change????

    August 24, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  3. TREP

    I am sorry, but there is no reason with any base in reality for any so-called life long democrat to vote for McCain. The policies of the last 8 years have been largely a disaster. Who is more likely to address these problems, McCain or Obama?
    It seems clear to me that Obama is more likely to try to change things. There are two good things that Biden brings to the the ticket.
    1.) He is not a yes man.
    2.) He has the experience to know how to get things done. What did in Carter and Clinton early on was their inexperience with how Washington works. Biden knows as well as anyone.

    August 24, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  4. Randy

    I E-mailed Barrak Obama after he won the Primary's. I expressed to him at that time. Although, I had thought Hillary Clinton should have won the nomination. The DNC rules were flawed. I accepted him winning the nomination. I then asked him to select Hillary Clinton as his VP choice. If he did not, I would not be voting this year for the first time in almost forty years. That I could not support John McCain, I would just choose NOT vote.

    Now, that Obama has chosen Joe Biden (Who?) as his VP choice. The way he has slammed Hillary with his 3:00 am text. The irresponsibility and elitist attitude he has taken with Hillary.

    I am so mad, that I AM going to vote this year for John McCain. Obama needs a wake up call and the voters will give it to him. He is not all so powerful and elect able.

    I am a Fifty-five year old man. Not all who think as I do are Women. Many of my friends feel the same way.

    Las Vegas, NV

    August 24, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  5. Betty

    Lifelong – you're a traitor like McPOW the songbird

    Obama/Biden '08

    August 24, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  6. No more games!

    Taken from a blogger. Very real – very good point.

    "Biden has been in the Senate since Obama was 10 years old and Obama says he used cocaine and marijuana while he was a young man. Of course Obama was never prosecuted under the harsh laws Joe Biden helped push through Congress - and now he's even able to make a plausible run for the presidency. Others, who were prosecuted under laws pushed by Obama's new running mate will never be so lucky: many of their lives were ruined so moral panderers like Joe Biden could have a electoral platform to campaign on.

    I just want to know how Obama sleeps at night when he thinks about the “irony” of campaigning for the White House with such a cynical man."

    August 24, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  7. MC LAME

    Reality August 24th, 2008 7:31 pm ET
    Wow, Biden as VP? This will be a slam Dunk for the McCain campaign. The GOP will lock up the white house for another 4 years. And there will be peace and sanity in the US.


    August 24, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  8. Lieberman...Edwards....and Biden

    The only reason he chose to run with BO is that he won't have to write any of his speeches.


    August 24, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  9. Astrid

    Hold BO's hand Grampa Joe...rock him to sleep and sing a lullaby.

    BO can't stand on his own two feet.

    Hey! Susan! Instead of Grampa Joe punching McCain's lights out, Hillary Supporters will be punching BO's lights out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

    Take a Nap.

    August 24, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  10. Nevada dude

    Biden's creds are unmatched by anyone in the race. McCain, for all his talk does not hold any leadership position in any committee he's in. and being shot down over vietnam does not automatically qualify you as any kind of foreign policy expert. The chair of the senate foreign relations committee on the other hand....

    August 24, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  11. blair

    obama picked Biden for his " Irish heritage, Catholic religion and lunch pail appeal " wow what a reason to pick the "next president of the United States" as obama introduced Biden as. Obama could not even send a text at 3am how is he gonna answer the RED phone. guess Clinton was right on the mark.

    August 24, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  12. Cynthia

    Come on Senator Biden and show John McCain how its done to be on the attack. Let Senator Obama get his plan together point by point to be delivered to the American people & get this country back on track. Go get them Joe – we are counting on you.

    August 24, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  13. Ralph

    It is too bad Obama needs a VP to bolster his inexperience. The President makes the decisions. We still have a know nothing in charge.

    August 24, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  14. Ralph

    If Hillary were to get the nomination now, there would be riots everywhere there are blacks. When he loses in November there may be riots then. All the Obama-bots yelling, rigged election! This will not be a good year no matter which way it goes. Blacks can't even celebrate without looting and sitting fires. Remember when the Cowboys won?

    August 24, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  15. aware

    Arrogance trumps integrity – how demeaning for Biden! 🙁

    Now we have two arrogant two-faced democratic politicians on the ticket! Biden will have to retract all of the negative but true things he has said about Obama! Obama of course just keeps equivocating, prevaricating, obfuscating and waffling!

    Never Obama! 🙁

    Don't waste your vote! Vote for John McCain 08 and Hillary Clinton 2012! 🙂

    August 24, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  16. Preston

    ...and BTW, to "Lifelong Democrat" ... Be careful. Your nose is growing. Are you really so abysmally stupid as to think you have any credibility with anyone possessing a modicum of intelligence? You are simply helping to confirm the painfully obvious fact that McCain's supporters are so bereft of legitimate reasons to defend him that they will resort to any desperation tactics they deem (in their rabid, frothing zeal) appropriate to support their increasingly demented "friend", the "straight talker". Thank you for demonstrating the total lack of integrity possessed by McCain's minions. Your pathetic efforts are – trust me – remarkably transparent. Why don't you go bomb Iran, and help create that remarkable McCainian invention, the Iraq-Afghanistan border.

    August 24, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  17. tedious898

    You Obama supporters are what's best about america (no matter the political party).

    You intelligent americans are the citizens which embody the words Martin uttered 45 years ago.

    "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

    Wow...Barack's speech will be "history repeated but realized"...even if he doesn't win, Martin would surely be smiling.

    August 24, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  18. Sherry, Atlanta




    August 24, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  19. Remy

    Obama is a real genius and now he shuts the mouths of many who cried "experience".

    Life Long Democrat tells he will vote for McCain. How can he be a life long Democrat?

    August 24, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  20. IvyDevilDog

    Pat C, everyone in the military volunteered to serve this great Nation. Oh, and by the way, we're not just in the Army. While you may disagree with Senator McCain's policies, please refrain from calling him a "war criminal." Senator McCain is a genuine hero – even some of us registered Democrats think so. I personally witnessed the lengths individuals in Iraq go to in order to vote. The great thing about this country is that not everyone should serve and no one is compelled to serve – but someone must serve in the Armed Forces. So, let's all make sure we VOTE in November!!!

    August 24, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  21. Obama/Biden leadership you can Believe IN


    Lunch-bucket Joe or the Scrappy Scranton Kid is exactly the right combination to bring us back to a real honest and thoughtful Country..

    Barack and Joe will help heal the violent attitude that has been engrained over the last 8 years.

    I have never seen so much hatred and anger as the blogs and comments
    which is product of a dysfunctional house.. THE WHITEHOUSE..

    It's called learned behavior and nly honest, respectible, caring peolpe can restor us bak to a country we can be proud of..

    Bring Back America..

    Yes WE Can....

    Obama/Biden... 2008, 2012

    August 24, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  22. Obama/Biden 08

    I totally agree with that. Rob Riggle and John Oliver together own anyone that CNN sends out. And, quite frankly, John Stewart owns guys like Wolf Blitzer. Funny how a show that makes fun of the news teaches you more than the news itself.

    August 24, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  23. tedious898

    May you haters of Barack find peace. Its so sad that you blame Obama for running for president and living out the dream Dr. King spoke about 45 years ago this Thursday. I'm so grateful my life isn't filled with such hate, frustration and regret. Even if I disagree with someone, I'm happy when they reach goals that would have been impossible 20 years ago. Congrats Obama – we're praying for you.

    August 24, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  24. Kell Ca

    get 'em Joe!!!!

    Obama-Biden 08

    August 24, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  25. Betty

    Lifelong – change your name to Limbaugh worshiper

    August 24, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
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