Barack Obama annouces Joe Biden as vice-president running mate
Since shortly following Biden's withdrawal from the presidential race, Obama had been privately telling Biden that he was interested in finding an important place for him in a possible Obama administration.
Biden declined Obama's first request to vet him for the vice presidential slot, but subsequently changed his mind. In a June 22, 2008, interview on NBC's Meet the Press, Biden confirmed that, although he was not actively seeking a spot on the ticket, he would accept the vice presidential nomination if offered. In early August, Obama and Biden met in secret to discuss a possible vice-presidential relationship. On August 22, 2008, Barack Obama announced that Biden would be his running mate. The New York Times reported that the strategy behind the choice reflected a desire to fill out the ticket with someone who has foreign policy and national security experience—and not to help the ticket win a swing state or to emphasize Obama's "change" message. Other observers pointed out Biden's appeal to middle class and blue-collar voters, as well as his willingness to aggressively challenge Republican nominee John McCain in a way that Obama seemed uncomfortable doing at times. In accepting Obama's offer, Biden ruled out to him the possibility of running for president again in 2016.
Joe Biden speaking at the August 23, 2008 vice presidential announcement in Springfield, Illinois, while presidential nominee Barack Obama listens
Biden is nominated as the Democratic vice presidential candidate during the third night of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado.
After his selection as a vice presidential candidate, Biden was criticized by his own Roman Catholic Diocese of Wilmington Bishop Michael Saltarelli over his stance on abortion, which goes against the church's pro-life beliefs and teachings. The diocese confirmed that even if elected vice president, Biden would not be allowed to speak at Catholic schools. Biden was soon barred from receiving Holy Communion by the bishop of his original hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, because of his support for abortion rights; however, Biden did continue to receive Communion at his local Delaware parish. Scranton became a flash point in the competition for swing state Catholic voters between the Democratic campaign and liberal Catholic groups, who stressed that other social issues should be considered as much or more than abortion, and many bishops and conservative Catholics, who maintained abortion was paramount. Biden said he believed that life began at conception but that he would not impose his personal religious views on others. Bishop Saltarelli had previously stated regarding stances similar to Biden's: "No one today would accept this statement from any public servant: ‘I am personally opposed to human slavery and racism but will not impose my personal conviction in the legislative arena.’ Likewise, none of us should accept this statement from any public servant: ‘I am personally opposed to abortion but will not impose my personal conviction in the legislative arena.'"Biden's vice presidential campaigning gained little media visibility, as far greater press attention was focused on the Republican running mate, Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin. During one week in September 2008, for instance, the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism found that Biden was only included in five percent of the news coverage of the race, far less than for the other three candidates on the tickets. Biden nevertheless focused on campaigning in economically-challenged areas of swing states and trying to win over blue-collar Democrats, especially those who had supported Hillary Rodham Clinton. Biden attacked McCain heavily, despite a long-standing personal friendship; he would say, “That guy I used to know, he’s gone. It literally saddens me.”As the financial crisis of 2007–2009 reached a peak with the liquidity crisis of September 2008 and the proposed bailout of United States financial system became a major factor in the campaign, Biden voted in favor of the $700 billion Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, which passed the Senate 74–25.
On October 2, 2008, Biden participated in the campaign's one vice presidential debate with Palin. Polling from CNN, Fox and CBS found that while Palin exceeded many voters' expectations, Biden had won the debate overall. On October 5, Biden suspended campaign events for a few days after the death of his mother in law. During the final days of the campaign, Biden focused on less-populated, older, less well-off areas of battleground states, especially in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, where polling indicated he was popular and where Obama had not campaigned or performed well in the Democratic primaries. He also campaigned in some normally Republican states, as well as in areas with large Catholic populations. Under instructions from the Obama campaign, Biden kept his speeches succinct and tried to avoid off-hand remarks, such as one about Obama being tested by a foreign power soon after taking office that had attracted negative attention. Obama strategist David Axelrod said that any unexpected comments had been outweighed by Biden's high popularity ratings. Nationally, Biden had a 60 percent favorability rating in a Pew Research Center poll, compared to Palin's 44 percent.
On November 4, 2008, Obama was elected President and Biden Vice President of the United States. The Obama-Biden ticket won 365 electoral college votes to McCain-Palin's and had a 53–46 percent edge in the nationwide popular vote.
SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (CNN) -- Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama introduced Sen. Joe Biden to the nation as his running mate Saturday, telling supporters that he is "a leader who is ready to step in and be president."
"For months, I've searched for a leader to finish this journey alongside me and join me in making Washington work for the American people. I searched for a leader who understood the rising costs confronting working people and will always put their dreams first," Obama said.
"Today, I've come back to Springfield to tell you I've found that leader," he said.
The rally is the pair's first joint appearance since Obama announced that Biden, the senior U.S. senator from Delaware, would be his running mate on his Web site and in a text message to supporters early Saturday morning.
Democrats hope that Biden's working-class roots and foreign policy experience will help Obama, who informed Biden of his decision Thursday.
Thousands of cheering supporters gathered Saturday for the rally in Springfield, Illinois, where Obama announced his candidacy last year. It will be their only public appearance together before next week's Democratic convention in Denver.
As he took to the podium at Saturday's rally, Biden invoked the 16th U.S. president, Abraham Lincoln, who was from Illinois.
"President Lincoln once instructed us to be sure to put your feet in the right place and then stand firm," said Biden, a native of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
"Today in Springfield, I know my feet are in the right place, and I'm proud to stand firm with the next president of the United States of America, Barack Obama."
Obama stressed those roots, introducing 65-year-old Biden as "still that scrappy kid from Scranton who beat the odds."
He noted hardships in Biden's life, including the deaths of Biden's first wife and infant daughter in a 1972 car wreck and his struggle to overcome a brain aneurysm in 1988. iReport.com: iReporters ask if Biden was really the best choice
"That's the kind of fighter I want by my side in the months and years to come," Obama said.
Known for his plain-spoken approach and penchant for speaking from the cuff, Biden wasted little time taking to the traditional vice presidential candidate's role of political attack dog.
"John McCain ... served our country with extreme courage, and I know he wants to do right by America," he said of his Senate colleague and the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. "But the harsh truth is loud and clear: You can't change America when you supported George Bush's policies 95 percent of the time."
He also seized on a McCain comment from this week when he could not remember how many houses he owns and said McCain was out of touch with the "kitchen-table" issues that working families face.
"It's a pretty hard experience. He'll have to figure out which of the seven kitchen tables to sit at," Biden said.
The McCain campaign quickly pounced Obama for introducing Biden as "the next president of the United States" before quickly correcting himself to say "vice president."
WASHINGTON (AP) - Barack Obama named Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware as his vice presidential running mate early Saturday, balancing his ticket with a seasoned congressional veteran well-versed in foreign policy and defense issues.
Obama announced the pick on his Web site with a photo of the two men and an appeal for donations. A text message went out shortly afterward that said, "Barack has chosen Senator Joe Biden to be our VP nominee."
Biden, 65, has twice sought the White House, and is a Catholic with blue-collar roots, a generally liberal voting record and a reputation as a long-winded orator.
Across more than 30 years in the Senate, he has served at various times not only as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee but also as head of the Judiciary Committee, with its jurisdiction over anti-crime legislation, Supreme Court nominees and Constitutional issues.
In selecting Biden, Obama passed over several other potential running mates, none more prominent than former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, his tenacious rival in dozens of primaries and caucuses.
Obama's campaign arranged a debut for the newly minted ticket on Saturday outside the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Ill.
Obama's decision leaked to the media several hours before his aides planned to send a text message announcing the running mate, negating a promise that people who turned over their phone numbers would be the first to know who Obama had chosen. The campaign scrambled to send the text message after the leak, sending phones buzzing at the inconvenient time of just after 3 a.m. on the East coast.
Hundreds of miles to the west, carpenters, electricians, sound stage gurus and others transformed the Pepsi Center in Denver into a made-for-television convention venue.
Tucked away in one corner were thousands of lightweight rolled cardboard tubes, ready-made handles for signs bearing the names of the Democratic ticket—once the identity of Obama's running mate was known.
While Obama decided against adding Clinton to his ticket, he has gone to great lengths to gain the confidence of her primary voters, agreeing to allow her name to be placed in nomination at the convention and permitting a roll call vote that threatens to expose lingering divisions within the party.
Biden slowly emerged as Obama's choice across a long day and night of political suspense as other contenders gradually fell away.
First Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine let it be known that he had been ruled out. Then came word that Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana had also been passed over.
Several aides to Clinton said the Obama campaign had never requested financial or other records from her.
Other finalists in the veep sweepstakes were Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and Texas Rep. Chet Edwards.
Among those on the short list, Biden brought the most experience in defense or foreign policy—areas in which Obama fares relatively poorly in the polls compared with Republican Sen. John McCain.
While the war in Iraq has been supplanted as the campaign's top issues by the economy in recent months, the recent Russian invasion of Georgia has returned foreign policy to the forefront.
In addition to foreign policy experience, Biden, a native of Scranton, Pa., has working-class roots that could benefit Obama, who lost the blue-collar vote to Clinton during their competition for the presidential nomination.
Biden was elected to the Senate at the age of 29 in 1972, but personal tragedy struck before he could take office. His wife and their 13-month-old daughter, Naomi, were killed when a tractor-trailer broad-sided her station wagon.
Biden took his oath of office for his first term at the hospital bedside of one of his sons.
On Friday, he spent the day at his home in Delaware with friends and family. The normally loquacious lawmaker maintained a low profile as associates said they believed—but did not know—he would be tapped. They added they had been asked to stand by in case their help was needed.
No sooner had word spread of his selection than McCain's campaign unleashed its first attack. Spokesman Ben Porritt said in a statement that Biden had "denounced Barack Obama's poor foreign policy judgment and has strongly argued in his own words what Americans are quickly realizing—that Barack Obama is not ready to be president."
As evidence, Republicans cited an ABC interview from August 2007, in which Biden said he would stand by an earlier statement that Obama was not ready to serve as president.
Biden is seeking a new Senate term in the fall. there was no immediate word whether he intended to change plans as he reaches for national office.
Michael Silberman, a partner at online communications firm EchoDitto, said the campaign gambled when they made such a high-stakes promise and find themselves in a precarious situation where they could risk a great deal of trust with supporters.
"For Obama supporters, this is like finding out from your neighbor instead of your sister that she's engaged—not how you want or expect the news to be delivered," Silberman said.
Biden dropped out of the 2008 race for the Democratic presidential nomination after a poor finish in the Iowa caucuses, but not before he talked dismissively of joining someone else's ticket.
"I am not running for vice president," he said in a Fox interview. "I would not accept it if anyone offered it to me. The fact of the matter is I'd rather stay as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee than be vice president."
He had stumbled on his first day in the race, apologizing for having described Obama as "clean." Months later, Obama spoke up on Biden's defense, praising him during a campaign debate for having worked for racial equality.
It was Biden's second try for the White House. The first ended badly in 1988 when he was caught lifting lines from a speech by British Labor Party leader Neil Kinnock.
In the decades since, he become a power in the Senate, presiding over confirmation proceedings for Supreme Court nominees as well as convening hearings to criticize President Bush's handling of the Iraq War.
Biden voted to authorize the war, but long ago became one of the Senate's surest critics of the conflict. Ironically, perhaps, his son, Beau, attorney general of Delaware, is due to spend a tour of duty in Iraq beginning this fall with his National Guard unit.
Obama worked to keep his choice secret, although he addressed the issue broadly during the day in an interview.
"Obviously, the most important question is: Is this person ready to be president?" Obama told "The Early Show" on CBS. Second, he said, was: "Can this person help me govern? Are they going to be an effective partner in creating the kind of economic opportunity here at home and guiding us through some dangerous waters internationally?"
And, he added: "I want somebody who is going to be able to challenge my thinking and not simply be a yes person when it comes to policymaking.