CHARLOTTE, N.C. — For all the jokes about his ‚??foot-in-mouth‚?Ě disease and talking too much, Vice President Joe Biden demonstrated Thursday night why he remains a beloved figure among Democrats.
In many ways, he is this generation‚??s Alben Barkley. Like Harry Truman‚??s vice president, Biden has oratorical skill and a familiarity with Democrats throughout the country. And like Barkley in 1948, it was obvious from his remarks that Biden will fill the traditional running mate role of campaign attack dog.
After paying tribute to wife Jill and their three children, Biden spoke of America ‚??turning from the failed policies of the past.‚?Ě Recalling the financial collapse of four years ago, the man Democrats always tout as the voice of the middle class described what he called President Obama‚??s ‚??profound concern for the average American.‚?Ě
He also told the audience of his closeness to ‚??Barack‚?Ě and shared highly personal stories about the struggles each of them faced when they were growing up. Soon, Biden segued to the class warfare theme that has been so prevalent at the podium here the last three nights.
Of the auto crisis, he said ‚??Barack Obama saved more than 1 millon jobs.‚?Ě Speaking of his father — ‚??an auto man‚?Ě — the vice president said ‚??my dad would have respected Barack Obama if he had been around‚?Ě because he saved the jobs of the automobile people the elder Biden worked with. Noting that Mitt Romney was also the son of an ‚??auto man,‚?Ě Biden said that the Republican nominee would have dealt with the auto crisis ‚??the Bain way‚?Ě — a reference to Romney‚??s venture capital company that bought and sold businesses.
Recalling Obama‚??s handling in the killing of bin Laden, Biden drew his loudest cheers when he declared: ‚??Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive.‚?Ě
He lashed out at Romney and his vice presidential foe Paul Ryan on Medicare, charging that ‚??the plan they are proposing would cause Medicare to go bankrupt by 2016‚?Ě and ‚??they‚??re for a new plan — it‚??s called voucher care.‚?Ě As for Romney‚??s call for a jobs tour, Biden said: ‚??with all his outsourcing, it‚??s going to have to be a foreign trip.‚?Ě
‚??A fundamentally different vision and a completely different value set‚?Ě is how Biden summarized the contest between himself and Obama and the Romney-Ryan ticket.
‚??We‚??re not going back and we have no intention of downsizing the American dream!‚?Ě he thundered, once again drawing wild cheers. The audience loved it, and they obviously loved Joe Biden.
In 2016, Biden will be 72 and is probably past the point when he could be seen as the successor to a re-elected Obama. Like Barkley before he left the vice presidency in 1952 at age 72, he has obviously won a special place in the hearts of Democrats everywhere.