Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2008

Joe Biden

The newly minted ticket mate was visibly moved by the loving introduction from his son, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, and accepted the Democratic nomination for Vice President with heartfelt pride and bold anticipation. Addressing his party's convention as a headliner was clearly a moment he's dreamed about for two decades. Biden gave an unhurried discourse about his family and middle-class struggles with a conversational emotion that few American politicians can match, and showed humor, energy, homey sense and an ability to tell a good story. The homage to his mother sitting in the gallery was one of the emotional high points of the convention so far — her great American face beamed as he talked with obvious love about her.

The teleprompter kept him from verbal wanderings (although he made occasional stumbles), and he managed to portray himself as a reassuring and rousing selection on a night dominated by the incomparable Bill Clinton.

For the first time this week, Obama's decisions and accomplishments in the Senate were prominently presented to voters, and Biden ably connected those choices to Obama's character. Showing his ease in the role of smiling attack dog, he rolled out an impersonal anti-McCain mantra — "That's not change, that's more of the same" — which he backed up with example after example (taxes, oil, Iraq, jobs). He brought the point home and defined the Obama argument: "These times require more than a good soldier; they require a wise leader, a leader who can deliver change — the change everybody knows we need." Biden came across as a classic American family man, a dedicated public servant, a wise counselor and a zealous surrogate.

by Mark Halperin