Saturday, August 23, 2008

Obama-Biden: The Maiden Voyage

Here's what Chuck Todd and his gang at First Read said about the selection of Joe Biden: As the days got nearer for the pick, it was hard to find a Democrat -- even savvy Clintonites -- who weren't hoping it would be Biden. Only the most strident Hillary supporters appear to be upset this morning. On the GOP side, the sound you heard was disappointed silence. Of everyone on the short list, the candidate many Republicans least wanted to see Obama pick was Biden.

Of the event and the speeches in Springfield, there's wasn't the only praise--all the cable bloviators said it was a success--but here's how Todd summed it up: All in all, if you believe, as I do, that the VP candidates matters most on three days, the first day, debate day and election day, then the Obama campaign has to be ecstatic about today. One goal down, two to go."

Biden contributed at least two memorable lines in his speech: "These times require more than a good soldier. They require a wise leader." ("good soldier" is especially resonant: it compliments McCain's "service," while suggesting he is Bush's "good soldier," following orders.) Also, Biden spoke about ordinary people sitting at their kitchen table, trying to figure out how to make ends meet, while McCain has to "figure out which of his seven kitchen tables to sit at."

As everyone noted, Biden hammered not on foreign policy but on economics, telling his own blue collar story as well as Obama's story. The emphasis was reinforced by every Democrat asked to comment I heard. The energy Biden brought was amazing, and riveting. If he can speak like that across the country, he can bring this message home. It's not that people know this about him--I sure didn't--but that he is able to communicate it.

Of the mass of verbiage about Biden today, I thought this story was the most revealing, especially for the ties between the Biden and Obama campaigns going back to Iowa.

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