Obama-Biden ’08

“I can tell you that Joe Biden gets it,” Barack Obama said in Springfield, Illinois, today as he introduced his running mate. “He’s that unique public servant who is at home in a bar in Cedar Rapids and the corridors of the capitol; in the V.F.W. hall in Concord and at the center of an international crisis.”

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has selected Delaware Senator Joe Biden as his running mate.  A campaign event immediately popped into my mind.  It was The Des Moines Register’s debate featuring all the Democratic presidential candidates, held in December.  Moderator Carolyn Washburn directly asked Biden about his statement in the summer of 2007, that Obama was "clean and articulate."  Biden answered the questions; the other candidates made affirmative sounds, then Obama chimed in with a defense of Biden.  Here are my notes, from the live blog of that event:

Biden:  "I think that I have my whole career, I got involved in politics because of the civil rights movement…I get over 95 percent of the vote of minorities in my state…It may be possible because I speak so bluntly that people misunderstand…but no one (in Delaware) has ever misunderstood my committment to civil liberties."

Other candidates applaud.  Clinton saye "here here."

Obama:  "I’ve worked with Joe Biden…I have absolutely no doubt of what is in his heart….I will provide some testimony as they say in church."

UPDATE:  AFter I posted this text, Ben Smith of the Politico found the video on youtube.

UPDATE:  Various Iowa Democrats weighed in on Obama’s selection throughout the day.

At 10:46 a.m. central the following was issued by Troy Price, a press operative for Govenor Chet Culver:  tDES MOINES – Today, Gov. Chet Culver, D-IA, issued the following statement after Sen. Barack Obama named Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware as his choice for Vice President.


"Sen. Barack Obama has made the right for choice for America. Sen. Joe Biden is a true champion for hardworking middle class families, who has served our country with distinction in the Senate. He is an experienced leader who will make an excellent Vice President.

"The Obama/Biden ticket has deep roots in Iowa. From Barack Obama’s historic victory in the Iowa Caucuses seven months ago, to Joe Biden’s years in our state, it’s clear to me that this is a winning team. From economic recovery, to energy security, to creating the ‘jobs of the future,’ Barack Obama and Joe Biden have the energy, the experience, and the ideas to renew our people here at home, and to restore America’s role as the world’s leader. I’m proud to be a part of the Obama/Biden team in Iowa. On behalf of the Lt. Governor and the First Lady, we will do all we can to send Sen. Obama and Sen.  Biden to the White House in November."

At 1:40 p.m.central the following was issued by Jenni Lee, an Obama campaign press operative based in Des Moines: STATEMENT BY GOVERNOR TOM VILSACK ON SENATOR OBAMA’S SELECTION OF SENATOR BIDEN AS HIS VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE

Des Moines, Iowa – Former Governor Tom Vilsack released the following statement today following Senator Barack Obama’s selection of Senator Joe Biden as his Vice Presidential nominee.

“Throughout the process leading up to the selection of a running mate I expressed confidence that Senator Obama would make the right choice for the country and the party. With his selection of Senator Biden, he met and exceeded that expectation. Senator Biden has been a leader in Congress for years, but Washington has never changed his focus – fighting for working and middle class families.  Raised in a working class family, Senator Biden has been a champion of working men and women from across the country throughout his career.

“As Senator Obama charts a new foreign policy, away from the failed policies advanced by the Bush administration and supported by Senator McCain, he will have a solid partner in Senator Biden with his extensive background in foreign affairs.  Senator Lugar’s praise of Senator Biden today is a testament to Senator Biden’s ability to work in a bipartisan way to bring about change.

“The selection of Joe Biden will remind everyone that the future of the Supreme Court hangs in the balance. No one understands that better than Joe Biden.  Joe Biden also speaks with the authority of a distinguished career of authoring major anti-crime legislation on the growing menace of crime in our cities and rural areas. Married to a life long educator, Jill Biden, he understands the challenges we must squarely face in educating our children to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.

“The Obama – Biden team has a consistent record of working in a bipartisan way and provides voters with a dynamic choice of two inspiring leaders. It’s a solid choice that reflects the kind of president Barack Obama will be – one ready to lead American in a new and better direction.”
At 2:58 p.m. central the following statement was released by the Harkin re-election campaign: (DES MOINES, IA) – Today Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) released the following statement regarding Senator Biden being chosen as Senator Obama’s running mate.

"Senator Biden is a great addition to the ticket. He has been a champion for working families and has joined with me in the Senate in fighting for local law enforcement and first responders. He has stared down dictators and as vice president he will help to restore our country’s image around the world. The Obama – Biden Administration will lead this country in a new direction and deliver the change Americans want."

McCain’s Iowa campaign staff organized a news conference on the steps of the Iowa statehouse to have key McCain backers in Iowa speak about the choice of Biden.

UPDATE:  at 6:51 p.m. central, Wendy Rieman — an Iowa-based press operative for the McCain campaign emailed the follwoing: DES MOINES, IA – Today, Iowa Republican leaders questioned Barack Obama’s motives for choosing Delaware Senator Joe Biden as his vice presidential nominee.

Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Stewart Iverson and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey took part in a conference call with reporters this afternoon.

IA Sec. of Ag Bill Northey:  “As foreign policy becomes more important, it’s obvious that Obama is trying to play catch up to the John McCain campaign.  This doesn’t change Senator Obama’s experience, but emphasizes the huge problem that he has: a lack of experience.”

RPI Chair Stewart Iverson:  “Barack Obama is trying to compensate for an area of weakness by selecting Joe Biden as his running mate.  Energy and the economy are the top two issues, and Biden and Obama are on the wrong side of these issues.  Both of them oppose offshore drilling and nuclear power.  John McCain wants energy independence and wants to drill here and drill now.”

At a press conference from the steps of the Iowa Capitol, David Roederer, Iowa chairman for John McCain 2008, was joined by former Iowa Senate President and former U.S. Ambassador to the Eastern Caribbean Mary Kramer and State Auditor David Vaudt to voice their concerns with an Obama-Biden ticket.

Ambassador Mary Kramer:  “I think Senator Obama’s selection of Joe Biden indicates his own doubts about his capacity to lead in the foreign policy arena.  Senator McCain already has the credentials to lead and we don’t have to build a team to support John McCain if he is elected President.”       

State Auditor David Vaudt:  “I find the Biden selection interesting.  If you step back and take a look at one of Obama’s biggest critics, it’s Joe Biden.  Barack Obama’s experience, his credentials, have all come under question.  I think he is reaching out to someone to balance that.  As the state auditor, I always have to look at the fiscal side of things and Barack Obama and Joe Biden have supported some of the biggest tax increases in American history.”

McCain 2008 Chairman David Roederer:  “I think Barack Obama’s selection of Joe Biden is a clear indication that he, himself, is convinced that he’s not ready to be President and believes he is compensating for his weakness in foreign policy.  On foreign policy, Senator Obama does not have any core beliefs.”

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.