Joe Biden accepted his party’s nomination for Vice President Wednesday night, telling the convention delegates, "I am ready. Barack is ready."
The six-term senator from Delaware tried playing up his Middle America roots more than his considerable Washington experience.
"I’m here for everyone I grew up with in Scranton and Wilmington. I’m here for the cops and the firefighters, the teachers and the assembly line workers, the folks whose lives are the very measure of whether the American dream endured," he said.
He talked how he stuttered as a child and how he fought back against the school bullies at the urging of his mother. He had a father who fell into hard times but told him, "Champ, when you get knocked down, get up."
He even made mention of his commute, daily from Delaware to D.C. on Amtrak, as further evidence of the bond he has with average Americans.
"Almost every single night," Biden said, "I take the train home to Wilmington, Delaware, sometimes very late. As I sit there in my seat and I look out that window, I see those flickering lights of the homes that pass by, I can almost hear the conversation they’re having at their kitchen tables after they put their kids to bed."
He called John McCain his friend and gave a lengthy list of policy differences they had, punctuating each McCain position with the phrase: "That’s not change.That’s more of the same."
Biden spoke glowingly of Barack Obama, highlighting his humble roots and how he gave up the chance to "write his own ticket to Wall Street" but instead "chose to go to Chicago, the South Side of Chicago." There, he met women and men who had lost their jobs and "he made their lives the work of his life."
He gave a list of Obama’s modest legislative achievements since coming to Washington as a senator, mentioning his work on nuclear non-proliferation and veterans health care legislation.
A much longer list was what he said Obama would accomplish as president: reforming the tax code, new jobs, affordable college, equal pay for women, more cops on the street, lower health care, better teachers. With each promise he repeated the phrase: "That’s the change we need."
He criticized and linked McCain to the Bush administration’s foreign policy and said that Obama had better judgment to conduct world affairs.
"Again and again, on the most important national security issues of our time, John McCain was wrong, and Barack Obama has been proven right.
Folks, remember when the world used to trust us, when they looked to us for leadership? With Barack Obama as our president, they’ll look at us again, they’ll trust us again, and we’ll be able to lead again."