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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Reactions to Biden as Obama's VP Pick

MSNBC (Chuck Todd): But after watching the unveiling of the ticket, it's clear Obama hired Biden to accomplish three things: 1) Connect the ticket with blue-collar voters. Notice, Biden led his remarks with the economy. 2) Sell Obama's story. Biden owned Obama's biography in a way we've yet to see from the candidate himself. 3) Credibly attack John McCain. Biden didn't mince words about his old "friend." All in all, if you believe, as I do, that the VP candidates matters most on three days, the first day, debate day and election day, then the Obama campaign has to be ecstatic about today. One goal down, two to go.

Detroit News (Gordon Trowbridge): Biden's legislative record includes a lot of work on Michigan's signature industry: autos. He was intensely involved in Delaware's unsuccessful attempts to keep Chrysler's Newark, Del., assembly plant open. Last year, he authored a bill calling for a five-year, $500 million boost for research on lithium-ion batteries, the crucial technology for making plug-in hybrid electric vehicles practical.

The New Republic (Michael Crowley): Biden has recently changed his tune on McCain's virtues, saying, "I don't recognize the guy anymore." Such an indictment of McCain from a longtime personal friend could be a powerful line of argument on the stump.

Newsweek (Andrew Romano): Biden was the only shortlister able to immediately and credibly go toe-to-toe with Republican nominee John McCain on Iraq, terrorism, Afghanistan and Pakistan. In the fall of 2002, he tried (with Republican Sens. Richard Lugar and Chuck Hagel) to pass a more modest war resolution that put additional constraints on Bush, and, like Obama, he was warning of the costs of a lengthy occupation even before the war began.

Real Clear Politics (Reid Wilson): Biden is one of the few who compares favorably with John McCain's Senate resume -- the Delaware Senator's two committee chairs were much more prominent than McCain's stints atop the Commerce and Indian Affairs panels. Instead of picking a candidate who helps him in a tactical sense, Obama eschewed political calculations and picked someone viewed as ready to be president.

Talking Points Memo (Greg Sargent): Biden, who has struggled at times with adversity, will offer frequent testament to Obama's character and toughness, and will use his populist cred to sharpen up the campaign's attacks on McCain over the economy. Biden appeared totally at ease and demonstrated a wide emotional range before a roaring crowd as he linked his own adversity to that of Obama's early years.

The Dish (Andrew Sullivan): Leaving aside all the necessary gaming of how this affects the election, what does the selection of Biden tell us about Obama's potential decision-making as president? This is the second big decision of the national campaign (the first was opting out of public financing). I'd say it suggests a serious, adult attitude toward the enormous burden that the next presidency will be, especially in foreign policy.

We've learned how disastrous a vice-president can be, in the current administration. No vice-president in American history has done as much damage to national security, constitutional integrity and the moral standing of the United States as Dick Cheney. Biden has aspects of the Cheney pick - he's older, more seasoned and more adept at foreign policy than Obama. But no one imagines that Obama would delegate - and all but abdicate - critical decisions to Biden the way Bush has to Cheney.

Nonetheless, it seems obvious that Biden speaks his mind frankly, and would have real heft and independence in the office. He knows enough that foreign leaders call him in international crises. That reassures me, as we face some grim days in the coming years in the war on terror.

This strikes me, in other words, as a pick for a candidate who is already very serious about governing - and making calls that forgo a campaign buzz for the sake of the country if he wins. Putting country first, you might say.

The more I think about it, the more I like it

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