by Cassy Fiano | August 23, 2008 8:18 am
The non-news story of the day: Barack Obama has selected Joe Biden to be his running mate. Yawn.
Sen. Barack Obama has selected Delaware Sen. Joe Biden as his running mate, according to his official Web site and a text message the campaign sent to supporters on Saturday.
“Barack has chosen Senator Joe Biden to be our VP nominee,” the text message, sent at around 3 a.m. ET, said.
“Joe and I will appear for the first time as running mates this afternoon in Springfield, Illinois — the same place this campaign began more than 19 months ago,” Obama said in an e-mail sent to supporters Saturday morning.
“I’m excited about hitting the campaign trail with Joe, but the two of us can’t do this alone,” he wrote. ” We need your help to keep building this movement for change.”
Before the text messages were distributed, multiple Democratic sources confirmed to CNN early Saturday that Obama wanted the Delaware senator as his vice president.
Sen. John McCain’s campaign quickly reacted to word that Biden would be Obama’s running mate, calling attention to Biden’s past comments about Obama’s experience.
“There has been no harsher critic of Barack Obama’s lack of experience than Joe Biden,” McCain campaign spokesman Ben Porritt said in a written statement.
“Biden has denounced Barack Obama’s poor foreign policy judgment and has strongly argued in his own words what Americans are quickly realizing — that Barack Obama is not ready to be president.”
Biden sure did argue against Barack. The CNN article itself has a few examples, as well as Flopping Aces:
“Who among us is going to be able on day one to step in an end the war? Who among us understands what to do about Pakistan? Who among us is going to pick up the phone and immediately interface with Putin and tell him to lay off Georgia because Saakashvili is in real trouble. Who among us knows what they’re doing? I have 35 years of experience.”
“You were asked, ‘Is he ready?’ You said, ‘I think he can be ready, but right now, I don’t believe he is. The presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training,'” Stephanopoulos said.
“I think I stand by that statement,” Biden replied.
“Having talking points on foreign policy doesn’t get you there.”
“It’s a well-intended notion he has, but it’s a very naive way of thinking how you’re going to conduct foreign policy. … [T]he way to deal with it is not to announce it, but to do it. The last thing you want to do is telegraph to the folks in Pakistan that we are about to violate – quote – ‘their sovereignty.'”
There’s more of that — Biden slammed Obama left and right during the primary — but it isn’t really important. There’s a lot more in the goodie bag when it comes to Joe Biden. I mean, who could forget this?
“I mean, you’ve got the first sort of mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a story-book, man,” Biden said.
Mm-hmm. There’s also the Indian comment:
Charming, eh? Then there was the bragging about his state being a slave state, because, you know, that will help win over South Carolina residents:
Because, you know, Southerners are just dying to get back to the good ‘ole days when we still kept slaves. For those who don’t live in reality, let me just clue you in. No southerner is proud of slavery. We don’t, however, pretend it was an exclusively Southern phenomenon, which infuriates me. But that’s another issue.
Biden also has a little problem with lying about his background and plagiarism.
Then there was also the little issue of him making the huge mistake of, well, actually telling the truth about what Democrats think of voters:
“We’ve got to trust the American people more,” Biden said.
“I think they’ve really lost faith in the American people in terms of leveling with them,” he said of his leading rivals.
When he asks groups of Democrats if they think the American people are stupid because they elected George W. Bush twice, most respond that, yes, they do, he said. He said he thinks that attitude is a real problem for the Democrats, who fail to understand how smart and pragmatic the American people really are.
Asked if he thinks, as he suggested recently in another interview, that the other candidates tend to think the American people are stupid or easily fooled, he said, “Well, I do.”
“It’s not even so much they don’t trust, which is a piece of it,” he said. It’s that they think that “the way to win is the Bill Clinton triangulation and the Karl Rove angering.”
“It’s the thesis that you go to your base because people don’t vote. Well, why don’t they vote?” he asked. He said he thinks people don’t vote because they’re tired of the way politicians treat them.
He said Democrats would do better if they stopped dividing the electorate by playing to their base and instead brought people together. He criticized the left wing of his party for demonizing the rich and Republicans.
“Rich folks are as patriotic as poor folks, but we don’t talk that way,” he said.
John McCain’s already striking with a campaign ad:
I can’t help but wonder if this was really the best choice for Barack Obama. Yes, Republicans will have a field day with this guy (he’s incredibly gaffe-prone, not to mention narcissistic), but that’s beyond the point. The Obama camp has been trying to hype up the announcement for weeks now, but they’ve waited so long that whoever they picked would’ve been a non-story. What were they thinking, making the announcement at 5:00am on a Saturday? My only guess is that they either wanted to lessen the impact or make it be the news everyone woke up to. Given the arrogance of both politicians, I’d go with the latter. There’s also going to be a noticeable lack of enthusiasm surrounding Joe Biden. He’s not a pick that gets the base fired up. He’s a safe pick, a non-threatening one, and given that Obama’s been lagging lately, you’d think that he’d want to go with someone exciting. There’s also the small problem of Biden being a major player in Washington for quite some time now. Doesn’t that contradict Obama’s meme of “not the usual politics”? I mean, it’s empty rhetoric and all, but you’d think Obama would want to go with someone who wouldn’t fit so easily into the label of politician.
Ed also makes a good point:
In fact, one has to wonder whether Obama really had made up his mind, or whether his first or even second choice didn’t turn him down. That would explain the delays in the announcement, and the apparent disorganization of Team Obama in handling an event that should have underscored the seriousness of their candidate. After all, they set the expectation that the running mate announcement would come this week, and they missed their own target.
Not only has Obama turned this into a game show, he has also now built up expectations to the point where almost any selection would be a letdown. The two rumored picks, Joe Biden and Evan Bayh, do not scream excitement. They don’t have the kind of star status that would justify this kind of NFL Draft Day engineering. Only Hillary Clinton or Al Gore might approach that kind of celebrity. Hillary would be better announced at the convention than on a Saturday afternoon, and Gore has already done the VP gig for eight years.
Obama has made a mess out of this announcement, and blown a natural opportunity to demonstrate his leadership. He also has given John McCain a wide opening to handle his own running-mate announcement in a manner which will demonstrate the Gravitas Gap which has widened considerably this month between the two candidates.
If the guy can’t even handle his own campaign, how can he handle the country?
My take is that Biden is definitely not the best pick Obama could’ve come up with.
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