Apparently, that’s the buzz. He’s been my preferred Democratic Veep candidate all through this cycle: experienced, wise to Washington, thoughtful on all the big foreign-policy files. He could bolster the Obama ticket’s (lately rather badly sagging) gravitas credentials, and (one hopes) leave the nominee free to re-inject a little excitement back into his plodding campaign.

Incidentally, the chapter on how he got over his stuttering habit as a boy is one of the great moments in Richard Ben Cramer’s historic account of the 1988 presidential campaign, What it Takes.



  1. “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” Joe Biden, 2007

    I think vp is going to be Bayh but it will depend on how much Obama’s inexperience is hurting him with electorate. If it’s big issue with people than probably Biden but if campaign thinks its not too bad, than Bayh.

    Biden has the problem of foot in mouth disease, he speaks before the thinks.

  2. I like Biden too, but might not people think he should be above the ticket?

  3. What states could Biden bring into the fold?

  4. I’ve always found it fascinating that journalist-pundits always say that Biden would be an exciting, energizing pick, but no one else I’ve ever talked to in any context has anything to say about him. Except of course vague memories of the time he called Obama “clean and articulate” and got run out of a campaign over plagiarism charges. Lieberman, Biden, Coburn, etc. are all small-state senators who are spared all but minimal demands of their insignificant constituencies and thus get to play national statesmen and pontificate on Sunday morning talk shows. I’m sure Biden has mulled over a lot of foreign policy over the years, but oddly enough, have never seen any evidence of a creative idea from him.

  5. I’m with Bahrad in as much as I fail to see how Biden could enhance the ticket. At the very least, he should be a sure bet in terms of delivering states that Obama can’t get on his own.

  6. Oh, here’s an awesome foreign policy insight:

    “The way to avoid a war with Iran — and to avoid a really dangerous Iran 10 years from now — is to figure out how to connect the dots.”

    He goes on to say that fellow Democratic candidates are dumb because they don’t understand that sanctioning Iran would raise oil prices or they didn’t bring up Pakistan. So he has the added bonus of thinking he’s smarter than everyone else about it.


    I don’t mind that he’s knowledgeable. The problem is that knowledge alone is pointless – Obama is smart enough to learn enough foreign policy (and has proven that, more or less, so far). The point is do you have something new to contribute, other than just showing off your education.

  7. I’m a huge Biden fan. He’s got a strong reputation for getting things done in a grossly locked Congress, telling it like it is, and he’s been hugely popular in his state for years and years. Every debate he was in, early in the Democratic race, he was consistently singled out as being absolutely great to watch, great to listen to, firm grasp of the major issues and excellent, well-thought out opinions and plans for them.

    But VPs don’t do anything, historically. Cheney should not be a precedent. Biden should be Secretary of State.

    Though, he’s said he doesn’t want either one… but that was April, and lots of things can change. (Though he repeated it in May, at least, if not June as well.)

  8. And um, to restate all that in a way that doesn’t make me sound like a bagful of American political cliches, he strikes me as very intelligent, very unpretentious, and I really wanted him to somehow magically win the Democratic primary in Iowa. He did some great interviews during the run-up to that. One in particular I remember was a long set of videos with the Des Moines Register’s editorial staff. He was laid-back, calm, articulate, and really seemed to genuinely want to convince the staff — not that he needed to be President, necessarily, but that the current course in Iraq and generally for America was wrong. I think his problem in that campaign was actually that he prioritized his beliefs above pushing his own brand, which I think is really admirable.

    I hope at least some of the people reading this go do some poking around on Google to get a sense of the man on your own, as opposed to what the comments here reflect (mine included.)

  9. Just to clarify, Bahrad, I don’t see Biden as Exciting. I see him as being able to nail down Serious — or rather, Seen in Washington As Serious, which is at least as good — so Obama can be Exciting. If he even still has it in him. Which I’m starting to doubt.

  10. Obama had better choose wisely, things are beginning to sour in the battleground states according to RealClearPolitics poll averages:

    Colorado 45.3 45.8 McCain +0.5
    Virginia 45.7 46.3 McCain +0.6
    Missouri 45.0 47.3 McCain +2.3
    Michigan 46.0 42.8 Obama +3.2
    Ohio 45.3 46.8 McCain +1.5
    Florida 45.4 47.2 McCain +1.8

  11. Evan Bayh voted for the Iraq war. If that’s okay now then a lot of Hillary supporters are going to be vexed since she was crucified by the HuffPost/MoveOn fanatics on that one.

    Can’t understand why Richardson isn’t top of the list unless it’s “too much colour” for the Southern Democrats.

  12. While I agree that Richardson is a better pick for so many reason (hispanic vote to name just one), he has now become a polarizing figure within the Dem party. The Clintonites would find in him yet another reason to stay home on election day.

  13. This girl still wants Hill(ary). Otherwise I can’t get too excited about any of ’em.

  14. Richardson has no chance for all the reasons enumerated by this profile. He seems like he’d be a disaster.

    And Biden seems like he’d be a great choice…he’s good at attacking, and sounding authoritative while doing it. His Giuliani putdown (“a noun, a verb, and 9/11) was what really destroyed Rudy’s campaign for the GOP nod, and I can imagine him doing something similar against McCain. Of course, he could also say something that backfires spectacularly, but I think he’d end up doing more good than harm, in the long run.

  15. Biden would be a sound, albeit unexciting, pick. I’d prefer Sebelius myself but I can see why Obama would want to go with the safer option.

  16. Have you heard Sebelius speak…..zzzzzzzz

    If not VP – Bidon would be a great Secretary of State…he tells it like it is – no nonsense and knows his stuff.

    Richardson always sounds like he’s reading off his resume.

  17. Someone asked which states Biden would bring, and I’d ask which states have ever been won by a VP? I don’t think VPs usually bring states with them, so I’ve always thought that was a silly reason to pick a VP.

    As for Richardson, I like him a lot too, but I don’t think Obama’s exactly scared about the Latino vote right now, if that’s one of the main reasons to pick Richardson (which, it isn’t, he’s got mad skills no matter his ethnicity, but some here have put that forward as a reason to pick him, and I feel about that the way I feel about picking a VP because you’ll think they’ll win a state). The main point on the Latino vote though is that Obama is currently up 30-40% on McCain among Latinos. They were talking about that quite a bit on Washington Week this past Friday. He’s KILLING McCain among Latinos, so he’s probably not too focused on what he can do to move from a 30-40% advantage to a 40-50% advantage.

  18. Also on “reasons that probably don’t really matter in picking a VP but are interesting nonetheless”, personally, even not knowing who the Republican Veep candidate might be, I’d be willing to bet that Biden would win a VP debate pretty handily against pretty much anyone McCain could pick.

    Again, I don’t think that really matters to the outcome of the election, but it can’t hurt to have you VP nominee b*tch slapping his opponent all over the debate stage.

  19. Obama cannot pick a VP that will “bring excitement”. That’s what Obama does and by comparison, every potential pick is boring.

    As a McCainiac, I would be happy if Obama picks Biden – only because Biden is a snoooooooze-fest.

  20. What about Hillary?

    I think Hillary would bring a lot more to Obama than Biden would.

    I prefer Biden, but really, Clinton got 18 million votes. Assuming some of those might go to McCain, especially in Florida… Wouldn’t it be better to get her “on-side” ?

  21. Some of her vote might go to McCain … Or more likely many of her experienced middle-aged female volunteers suddenly feel a lot less excited about working for yet another fella who’s just going to go off and have another bimbo eruption or start another war, and they decide to stay home this time.

  22. LKO I agree with your assessment of what a vp brings to the ticket, very little. From what I understand, vp picks don’t add but they can subtract if you pick the wrong one. People question your judgement.

    I think Obama vp is going to be a white male. Enough paradigms are being broken with a black nominee so I don’t think Obama is going to push it and pick a woman or another minority.

    Wassim/A Reader

    I think what is happening with Hillary is very interesting indeed. She is going to have a big role at convention and they are going to allow her delegates vote for her. Not sure why Obama agreed to that but I assume lots of female Hillary supporters are angry and this is one way to release the anger.

    A story in yesterday’s Sunday Times (London) is getting lots of attention and I wonder how wide spread the anti-Obama feeling is. It starts:

    At the Democratic national convention next week, Lynn Forester, Lady de Rothschild, one of Britain’s most influential political hostesses, will be contemplating treachery. She poured her heart and money into Hillary Clinton’s campaign and she is thinking of voting for John McCain, the Republican candidate, for president.

    She is not impressed by Barack Obama and doubts he will reach the White House. “My loyalty is to the Democrats winning. Barack Obama is going to have a serious problem getting elected, for good reason,” she said in an interview.

    “The party needs to face the fact that without Hillary Clinton on the ticket, the Democrats will probably lose.”

  23. Nah, obama needs a white dude from the south; not another senator cuz there’re plenty running.

    Bill Clinton?

  24. re:jwl
    No one ever seems to interview the women who either took Hillary’s loss on the chin or who stopped supporting Hillary once her loss was inevitable and her campaign went all nutty. The Times in particular loves these crazed Hillary fan stories.
    Lady de Rothschild? Isn’t she that good friend of Conrad Black who had the temerity to call Obama “an elitist”?
    Anyone who says that they would rather vote for McCain might well have jumped ship for any number of bizarre reasons even if Hillary had become the nominee. I believe that the Hillary influence is overstated and her lack of influence is one of the reasons that Obama can afford to make this (I agree, odd) gesture.
    I like Sebelius as the reasonably sensible shoe choice but agree that Biden probably makes more sense. He has a good record on the environment. He’s white and catholic and a guy. I don’t think we can really look to past elections and the influence of a v.p. choice upon their outcome because this election has a very unique set of circumstances.
    Paul, I think that Obama still has it in him to be exciting. I think that the pull back has been intentional, and even if it was a poor idea, it’s reasonably early days yet, August days during an action packed Olympics and only dull people like us have really noticed.

  25. Bill Clinton? Now that’s interesting. Question – perhaps Paul knows – a president can only run two terms in the US. Are there any laws about being VP? I won’t happen, just curious if could be a possibility that a former president be appointed as a running mate/VP if they are elected? Hey, look what Putin did.

  26. ACG

    I agree that Hillary doesn’t have huge influence with Dem voters but lots of middle aged women poured their hopes into her candidacy and they are feeling bitter that a younger, less qualified, male got the nomination.

    It looks like this election is going to be tight and every vote counts. If a couple of million Democrat women decide not to vote, or vote for McCain, that hurts Obama big time. I assume that is why Obama agreed to vote at convention, to assuage the bitterness they are feeling.

    Just found this poll, published Aug 10th:

    A new poll of likely women voters shows Democrat Barack Obama still has work to do to attract the ballots of some who backed Hillary Clinton in her primary fight with him.

    Obama leads Republican John McCain, 49 percent to 38 percent among all women voters, according to the poll, but 18 percent of the women who voted for Clinton in the nomination fight say they plan to vote for McCain in November.

    The survey, conducted for the Lifetime television networks by two respected pollsters, Democrat Celinda Lake and Republican Kellyanne Conway, was released last week.

  27. Thank goodness the Dems are starting to play with the Republican playbook.

    Step 1: Nominate a uniter, not a divider
    Step 2: Beef up the ticket with an older, wiser foreign policy figure
    Step 3: …
    Step 4: Profit!!

    Can’t. Lose.

    While I generally agree with Biden’s politics more than Cheney, I fear the effect of putting a person with substantially more experience in a given area on the ticket. People may actually get the impression that the VP should be driving this part of the administration and that makes me uncomfortable in a way that I cannot yet articulate.

  28. I’d so like to see the word “bitter” used a bit less in all this. “Angry” is getting a little tired as well. Women voters still offer more to Obama then they do to McCain. I think that age is a huge factor here and broken down that way there is another story. That same demographic that when polled insist that Obama doesn’t “share their values” but McCain does are never going to be swayed. The best Obama can hope for is they stay home.
    I trust that as the Obama campaign was well run, they have this convention business under control.

  29. “Lady de Rothschild, one of Britain’s most influential political hostesses, will be contemplating treachery… she is thinking of voting for John McCain, the Republican candidate, for president.

    “’My loyalty is to the Democrats winning.'”

    Ironic much?

    I think it’s pretty funny that many of these women who are turning their noses up at Obama are more than happy to maintain four years of Republican rule in the hopes that she’ll be up again in four years.

    As for Bill as VP, well, there’s nothing that would prohibit it, but you’d have to skip him in the line of succession.

  30. Biden is a smart guy. Unusual for the Senate where the chief qualification is to be a rich guy.
    Since he’s been in the Senate for a while he’s probably both smart and rich now.
    Poor choice for VP. He’d be bored silly. And he has a faulty trip wire between brain and tongue.
    He’d bring no end of sound bite trouble. Fox and MSNBC and THe World’s Best Political Team would love him.
    He’d make an excellent policy advisor but I suspect he’d have a hard time avoiding the spotlight.

  31. Many of those women were Republicans to begin with, who as I said, might not have stuck with her once it really came down to policy.
    Wealthy Clinton donors are not a sizable demographic that Obama needs to worry about vote wise and his fund-raising is still in good shape.
    Neither Clinton behaved well in all this and they lost many people because of it. Hillary as VP would have been a disaster.
    Hillary continues to behave as if every vote that she earned in the early primaries would still be hers. I doubt it.

  32. Um, Sibelius died in 1957. Still, it would be a beautiful choice.

  33. Traditionally, the Vice Presidency has served as a great launching pad for one’s own Presidential ambitions. Consider that Al Gore, Bush Sr., Mondale, Ford, Nixon, Johnson and Truman all served as Vice President. Biden would be more along the lines of Cheney, the Washington insider who can actually get things done for the administration. Biden would have a ton of swing in an Obama administration — Barack is a bit of a blank slate, to put it politely, and it would be pretty easy to see a guy like Biden very quickly filling the administration with people loyal to him. Biden, though, is just a more slicked back Ed Rendell, the Pennsylvania Governor who also has this bad habit of saying what is on his mind 24/7. Remember that the first rule for the VP candidate is, “do no harm”. While no one ever votes FOR the VP, it’s pretty easy to imagine Biden saying something dumb that would cost Obama some votes.

    Obama has to at least be thinking the unthinkable at this stage, though. I’m sure he would do it in an instant if it wasn’t for the fact that he would actually have to live with her (and Bill) post Nov. 4 if he won. The Clintons would take full credit for the win, and make Obama’s difficult virtually every day of his Presidency.

    Does anyone else here think that Obama is taking a huge, needless risk by making his acceptance speech at Mile High Stadium? Holy Ratcheting Up Expectations, Batman! A crowd that huge is going to be expecting him to walk on water, and the event provides a huge opening for GOP spinners to say how badly he flopped. This decision strikes me as an arrogant rookie mistake, one that some old hands in the Democratic Party should have squashed right away.

  34. Dennis ! If that’s you, get your butt back in
    the Canucks group. You are missed [ and I’ve mellowed ].


  35. Biden or Kaine.

    Either would be so much fun to run against…

  36. You are right, Jack Mitchell, (clipped and pasted the spelling from a previous post,) you can’t get much whiter or less gaffe prone than a dead Finnish composer—is trading on par with Edwards, isn’t he Andrew?

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