Joe Biden’s performance today in Springfield, IL was everything Biden followers have come to expect. It was passionate, pointed, emotional, and just a little odd in spots. It was also something I didn’t expect, direct.
Biden brought something that has been sorely lacking to the campaign of Barack Obama today, a blue collar sensibility in message that the intellectual Obama voices, but sometimes doesn’t connect with. Biden only spoke for 16 minutes, yet he managed to crystallize Obama’s message in a way that blue collar people can relate to.
“Barack and I come from very different places but we share a common story, an American story. He was a son of a single mom, a single mom who had to struggle to support her son and her kids. … I was a different. I was an Iirish Catholic kid from Scranton [Pennsylvania] with a father who, like many of you struggled in tough economic times.” When Biden talks about sitting around the table in tough economic times, and people struggling to pay their bills, there is something authentic about that.
The other side that Biden showed today is that he is more than willing to play the role of attack dog. Biden did a great job of attaching John McCain to George W. Bush, “You can’t change America and make things better for our senior citizens when you signed on to Bush’s scheme of privatizing Social Security.”
“You can’t change America and end this war in Iraq when you declare — and again these are John’s words — ‘No one has supported President Bush in Iraq more than I have,’ end of quote. ladies and gentlemen, you can’t change America, you can’t change America when you know your first four years as president will look exactly like the last eight years of George Bush’s presidency,” Biden continued. He also pointed out the McCain voted with Bush 95% of the time, and delivered the off repeated zinger that McCain’s only economic problem around the kitchen table is trying to “figure out which of the seven kitchen tables to sit at.”
Did anyone else notice that Obama had his fire back today? Biden will bring passion by the boatload to this race. He can talk about restoring America and what’s at stake in this election in a gut level way that is certain to hit home with older voters, and especially people in my home state of Pennsylvania who have been very slow to warm up to Obama. Biden will help the ticket in Michigan and Ohio too. It’s like Biden can go the rust belt and tell the skeptics there, that it’s ok, he’s one of us. He gets it. This race will still be long and difficult, but it looks like Obama has found the perfect complement to his personality.