The Obama-Biden ticket: An analysis
Barack Obama says he represents a new kind of post-partisan politics – but he’s made what appears to be a traditional choice for running mate.
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Advisers often urge presidential candidates to plug holes in their own resumes with their vice-presidential picks, and that’s what Senator Obama may have done in opting for Sen. Joseph Biden (D) of Delaware. Senator Biden is many things Obama is not: experienced (35 years in the Senate), a foreign policy expert, and Catholic, for instance.
Perhaps most importantly, he’s nobody’s idea of effete. With a blue-collar background and tough campaign style, Biden could counter GOP efforts to frame Obama himself as an elitist.
The reverse is also true: Obama’s strengths are Biden’s weaknesses. Biden has twice run for president himself, including this cycle, to widespread disinterest on the part of national voters. And where Obama’s rhetoric soars, Biden’s mouth can get him in trouble.
Gaffes, misstatements, and even plagiarism have dogged Biden’s presidential campaigns. His garrulity is such that in congressional hearings he’s been known to ask questions of committee witnesses that are longer than their answers.
Even now Republican opposition researchers surely are poring over videotape of Biden talking, and talking, and then talking some more, in hopes of finding potentially controversial snippets.
“That is his Achilles heel,” says Professor Jillson.
Biden is a native of Scranton, Pa. His father had been born into wealth but spent it, and young Joe’s childhood was one of straitened circumstances.
As a young attorney, he was a political prodigy, earning election to the US Senate at age 29. Tragedy struck before he could take office, as his wife and young daughter died in an automobile accident. The grieving Biden was sworn in after reaching the constitutionally-mandated age for Senate service of 30.
He is currently serving his sixth term in the Senate and is chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations. From 1987 until 1995 he was chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
In 2002 Biden voted to authorize the war in Iraq but has since become a vocal critic of the conflict. Previously he also backed a proposal to pacify Iraq by splitting it along ethnic lines.