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Biden's "rhetorical flourishes" lead to Palin-like seclusion?

By Jimmy Orr / October 23, 2008

Jake Turcotte

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In a sea of downward trending polls, a campaign will grab on to anything to stay afloat.

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While Bill Ayers appears to be an anvil, the McCain campaign is grabbing on to Joe Biden like a life preserver.

Joe's like Santa Claus

That's probably why the Democratic nominee for vice president isn't talking much.  Because when he does, he's the gift that keeps on giving.

Take the "Gird your loins - an international crisis is coming" speech.

No matter how the remarks were intended, his prediction that, if elected, "a generated crisis [would occur] to test the mettle" of Barack Obama has been a hot topic and an unwelcome one for the Obama campaign.

Rhetorical flourishes

Joined by a team of 15 foreign policy advisors yesterday, Obama discussed challenges in the international arena that would face any president.  When asked about Biden's remark, Obama said what everybody seems to say -- that's just Joe.

"Joe sometimes engages in rhetorical flourishes," Obama said.  "But I think his core point was that the next administration is going to be tested, regardless of who it is.  The next administration is going to be inheriting a host of really big problems."

Biden spokesperson David Wade was more blunt in defending his boss a couple days ago.

“Sen. Biden was making it clear that history has shown presidents face challenges starting on day one, and with our nation fighting two wars and 21st century threats abroad, we know that we need steady leadership in tumultuous times, not the erratic lurching and stubborn ideology of John McCain,” he said.

Fine.  That doesn't mean the McCain campaign isn't going to try everything they can in the next 11 days to throw everything at the wall hoping that something sticks.

Where's Joe?

Yesterday, for example, the McCain team pointed out that Biden has been a rarity among the press corps.  And it hasn't been just since his fumbled attempt to discuss the foreign policy challenges of being a new President.

Ben Porritt, a spokesman for the campaign, emailed out a story from CBS News' Ryan Corsaro who noted that Biden has not taken questions from his press corps for six weeks.

"The handful of reporters from Biden’s national press corps who have followed him incessantly for two months have not had the opportunity to ask questions regarding the "crisis" matter - even to allow Biden to clarify his remarks - because he has not taken questions or held a press availability with his press corps since Sept. 7."

Hillary

Corsaro also notes that Biden hasn't taken questions from the public in awhile -- since September 10. And what happened then?  Biden "endorsed" Hillary Clinton.

"She’s qualified to be president of the United States of America and easily qualified to be vice president of the United States of America. And quite frankly, it might have been a better pick than me," he told the crowd.

Easy to understand

It's not rocket science why this is happening writes ABC's Jake Tapper.

"It might not be hard to imagine why this has happened. Biden's proclivity to speak his mind has provided much fodder for Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Republicans...," writes Tapper.

Both Tapper and Corsaro note that Sarah Palin has been much more accessible to the press.  Maybe even the most accessible out of the four candidates, ponders Tapper.

Biden ain't alone

Certainly Joe Biden isn't alone in providing ammo to his opponents.  Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has single-handedly raised over $1 million for her opponent in under a week.

And Sarah Palin?  There isn't enough space on the Internet to start that discussion...

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