August 25, 2008: Obama Chooses Joe Biden as his Running-Mate

The week that was….

Barack Obama and his running-mate Sen. Joe Biden in Springfield, Ill., August 23, 2008

Barack Obama and his running-mate Sen. Joe Biden in Springfield, Ill., August 23, 2008

  • August 23, 2008: Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama confirmed that he chose six term Delaware Senator Joe Biden as his running mate. CNN scooped Obama’s announcement reporting that the Democratic candidate had chosen Biden at 12:45am on Saturday, the campaign intended to send out the text messages at 8am, but then where forced to send them out at 2:45am. CNN Biden was chosen partially to compensate for Obama’s lack of foreign policy credentials, for his ability to play hardball with the opponent, and his appeal to working class voters. The Democratic ticket formally appeared together for the first time in a rally in Springfield, Illinois.
  • August 22, 2008: Speculation mounts as to who Obama will chose as his running mate. Hoax text messages were sent out prompting the Wall Street Journal to announce that Obama had chosen Gov. Tim Kaine of Virginia as his running mate, which the paper had to quickly retract. The Obama campaign informed Gov. Tim Kaine of Virginia, Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut and Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana that they were not chosen as Obama’s VP.
  • August 21, 2008: McCain Denver campaign offices received an envelope filled with white powder, which prompted an medical evaluation; it later proved to be a hoax and not anthrax. The Fall Presidential Candidate debates calendar was released and scheduled for Sept. 26, Oct. 7, and Oct. 15, with the Vice-Presidential debate scheduled for Oct. 2. – NYT, 8-21-08
  • August 20, 2008: GOP convention speakers announced: Rudy Giuliani will give the GOP convention Key note address; President Bush, Laura Bush and Dick Cheney to speak on first night, Sen. Joe Lieberman, a former Democratic VP candidate, will speak Monday. The speaker choices demontrates that “McCain wants showcase the GOP’s “diversity”,” McCain’s running mate will accept the nomination Wednesday, the same night Mitt Romney will speak. CNN, 8-20-08 McCain gives an interview to, when asked about the number of homes he owns, McCain gaffes, saying he has to ask his staff. The Obama campaign jumps on this as an opportunity to show McCain is out of touch with American voters because of his family’s wealth. Senator Joe Biden emerges as the Democratic Party’s top choice for Obama running mate because of his foreign policy credential, and ability to attack the Republican opponent, two qualities Obama has been faltering with. AP, 8-20-08
  • August 19, 2008: Obama spoke to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention, and told them that he continues to support his position against the war in Iraq and the surge. Obama challenged McCain to stop questioning his “character and patriotism,” and said “Let me be clear: I will let no one question my love of this country.”
  • August 18, 2008: McCain spoke to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention and told them that Obama’s position on Iraq is based primarily on his political aspirations and not for the good of the country. “With less than three months to go before the election, a lot of people are still trying to square Sen. Obama’s varying positions on the surge in Iraq. First, he opposed the surge and confidently predicted that it would fail. Then he tried to prevent funding for the troops who carried out the surge,” McCain said.

The Stats

  • August 24, 2008: In a new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released Sunday night: 47 percent are supporting Barack Obama the same number support John McCain a sharp contrast to polls in July when Obama had a 51 to 44 percent advantage. – CNN, 8-24-08
  • August 24, 2008: Washington Post-ABC News poll, showed Obama with 49 percent support and McCain with 45 percent.
  • August 24, 2008: An instant USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds for many Americans, though, the question is “Joe who?” Among those surveyed, 23% say they’ve never heard of the Delaware senator and another 28% say they don’t have an opinion of him. – USA Today, 8-24-08
  • August 20, 2008: McCain’s advantage is 50-40, a seven-point increase from Public Policy Polling’s July poll, which showed him leading by three points. Obama’s biggest issue is with white voters, who support McCain by a 56-35 margin, observers say. – St. Louis Business Journal, 8-20-08
  • August 19, 2008: A new Times/Bloomberg poll has Obama with 45% to McCain’s 43%, “a statistical dead heat.” – LA Times, 8-19-08

In the News…

  • Founding Fathers’ dirty campaign – CNN, 8-24-08
  • MIKE LITTWIN: The Obama phenomenon: a view to history in making Insights gained from 18 months on the campaign trail – Rocky Mountain News, 8-23-08
  • Doris Kearns Goodwin on 1968 chaos opened door for Obama 40 years later: “Had there been party leaders who had a major role in choosing the nominee this year it is probably much more likely it would have been a Hillary Clinton rather than a young Barack Obama,” said presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin….. “The cautionary note of that convention to the party was to avoid at all costs the kind of open warfare on a platform issue and a large dispute that could take place in prime time,” said Kearns Goodwin. – AP, 8-23-08
  • 100th birthday party will celebrate LBJ’s legacy – Houston Chronicle, 8-23-08
  • Barack Obama: Are critics targeting his race? As the presidential campaign heats up, there is an elephant in the room – the colour of Barack Obama’s skin. Reporting from Mississippi, Philip Sherwell looks at how the nation’s troubled past is affecting his chances – and the challenges he is about to face – Telegraph, UK, 8-23-08

Candidate Bloopers

  • Joe Biden as the Springfield, Illinois rally introducing him as Obama’s Vice-Presidential running mate: “Ladies and gentlemen, my wife Jill, who you’ll meet soon, is drop dead gorgeous. My wife Jill, who you’ll meet soon, she also has her doctorate degree, which is a problem. But all kidding aside …” – LA Times, 8-23-08
  • Barack Obama introducing his running mate Joe biden for the first time in Springfield, Ill.: “So let me introduce to you, the next president, the next vice president of the United States of America – Joe Biden.”
  • When John McCain was asked by Politico how many houses he owns in an interview he responded: “I think — I’ll have my staff get to you… It’s condominiums where — I’ll have them get to you.” – Politico, 8-20-08

Historians’ Comments

  • Gil Troy: Channeling Cheney: Did Obama Overcompensate with Biden? – HNN, 8-24-08
  • Char Miller: ‘Change’ is the face of new America – Daily Bulletin, 8-23-08
  • Randall Miller on “Son of working-class Catholics, Biden may bolster Obama’s weak spots”: Randall Miller, a professor of history at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, noted that Philadelphia TV covers Biden extensively and reaches voters not just in the city and its suburbs but into the Lehigh Valley. Baltimore TV also covers him, and reaches into central Pennsylvania. “He is a very well known quantity here in Southeastern Pennsylvania, the mother lode of votes in the state,” Miller said. – Kansas City Star, 8-23-08
  • Julian Zelizer on “Obama seeks to inspire US voters”: Julian Zelizer, a history professor at Princeton University, agreed Obama’s White House hopes may rest in defining himself, before Republican political shock troops do it for him. “If he doesn’t, he is going to have a big problem,” Zelizer said. “He has had a really difficult month in August, and the Republicans have done a pretty good job in framing him.” “I assume we are going to hear more contrast between what Democrats are about and what he is about versus McCain,” said Zelizer. “We are going to hear a lot of connecting between McCain and Bush.” – AFP, 8-24-08
  • Patty Limerick on “Obama prospecting for electoral gold in Old West”: Patty Limerick, a professor of history and environmental studies at the University of Colorado’s Center of the American West, said swathes of voters in the region have grown frustrated with the status quo of US politics. “There are growing numbers of voters who are scratching their heads and saying, ‘Where did my party go?’. And I’ve heard more Republicans than Democrats saying that,” Limerick told AFP. “The Republican Party has a great challenge in knitting together those people who are Republicans because they don’t want people interfering in their private lives, and the people who are Republicans because they want to interfere in other people’s private lives,” Limerick said. “Those aren’t groups that are easy to reconcile.” While national issues such as the state of the economy were certain to be at the forefront of voter concerns, the environment, energy policy and immigration were all likely to play a part in November elections, Limerick said. “There’s so much in our regional economy of construction, development, tourism, hospitality, agriculture, in which immigration labor is vital,” Limerick said. “And a lot of people realize that closing the border is going to lead to significant changes in things like food prices and food availability.” – AFP, 8-24-08
  • Jonathan Zimmerman on “Politicians OK if rich but not if seen as out of touch”: Jonathan Zimmerman, a professor of education and history at New York University, sees “a curious American blend of romanticism and cynicism.” Americans, he said, “like to imagine their leaders once came from log cabins” and made good. But then they worry that the newfound wealth will affect their common touch – something not backed by the records of wealthy presidents such as the two Roosevelts and John F. Kennedy. Zimmerman said the stakes this year are heightened because “there is a sense that neither candidate is really a man of the people.” “They are both loaded compared to 95 or 97 percent of all Americans,” Zimmerman said. Yet Obama would not meet the definition of “rich” tentatively offered last week by McCain, a statement that has drawn scorn from liberal and conservative economists alike. – San Diego Union Tribune, 8-23-08
  • Donald Richie on “Politicians OK if rich but not if seen as out of touch”: Donald Ritchie, associate historian of the U.S. Senate, said, “People want politicians to be . . . somebody who is comfortable (with) and understands situations that the average person faces.” “But the first direct election was in 1914, and every incumbent senator who was running was re-elected,” Ritchie said. “The people elected the exact same people the state legislatures did.” – San Diego Union Tribune, 8-23-08
  • Ignacio Garcia on “Viva Obama Clubs target Latinos”: How successful those clubs will be remains to be seen, said Ignacio Garcia, a history professor at Brigham Young University and author of “Viva Kennedy: Mexican Americans in search of Camelot.” Garcia said the Kennedy clubs succeeded in speaking to the dreams and needs of Latinos. Further, they empowered a new generation of political leaders who eventually became mayors, congressman, governors and federal judges. “The question is whether Obama really inspires Latinos, and whether these groups can create a movement that will include the political majority of the community,” Garcia said. – San Diego Union Tribune, 8-23-08
  • Julian Zelizer on “Conventions: a bounce for the candidates”: “Campaigns are a multistage process – but the convention is a key step,” says Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. “That speech for both candidates constitutes a very important introduction to the nation,” says Mr. Zelizer. Christian Science Monitor, 8-21-08
  • Allan Lichtman on “McCain to Keep Pressure on Obama During Dems’ Convention”: “The candidate usually keeps a low profile during the opposition convention. Certainly Bush did in 2004,” American University history professor Allan Lichtman said. That said, he added: “I don’t think you give them the spotlight entirely.” Lichtman, a Maryland Democrat who ran unsuccessfully for Senate in 2006, said McCain needs to be careful not to over-respond, or he’ll be seen as going too negative. “He’s taken Obama down a peg … and he doesn’t want to overplay that hand,” Lichtman said. “It’s always a tightrope walk.” – Fox News, 8-21-08

On the Campaign Trail….

Script For “Passed Over” (TV :30)ANNCR: She won millions of votes.But isn’t on his ticket.Why?For speaking the truth.On his plans: HILLARY CLINTON: “You never hear the specifics.” ANNCR: On the Rezko scandal: HILLARY CLINTON: “We still don’t have a lot of answers about Senator Obama.” ANNCR: On his attacks: HILLARY CLINTON: “Senator Obama’s campaign has become increasingly negative.” ANNCR: The truth hurt. And Obama didn’t like it. JOHN MCCAIN: I’m John McCain and I approved this message.

Katie Couric’s interview with John McCain on CBS’ “Face The Nation,” August 24, 2008 I think he’s a good selection. Joe and I have been friends for many, many years, and we know each other very well, and so I think he’s made a very wise selection. I know that Joe will campaign well for Senator Obama, and so I think he’s going to be very formidable. Obviously, Joe and I have been on different philosophical sides, but we have been – I consider him a good friend and good man…. Well, I’ve always respected Joe Biden, but I disagreed with him from the time he voted against the first Gulf War to his position where he said you had to break Iraq up into three different counties. I never agreed with that. But I appreciate very much his dedication to trying to solve this genocide that’s going in Darfur and other things that Joe Biden has done. But we really have different approaches to many national security issues. I look forward to whoever my running mate will be having a respectful debate with him on that as well.

Senator Biden’s Remarks in Springfield, Ill:
I’ll say straight up to you – John McCain and the press knows this, is genuinely a friend of mine. I’ve known John for 35 years. He served our country with extraordinary courage and I know he wants to do right by America. But the harsh truth is, ladies and gentlemen, you can’t change America when you boast. And these are John’s words, quote, the most important issues of our day, I’ve been totally in agreement and support of President Bush. Ladies and gentlemen, that’s what he said. You can’t change America when you supported George Bush’s policies 95% of the time. You can’t change America when you believe, and these are his own words, that in the Bush administration we’ve made great progress economically. You can’t change America and make things better for our senior citizens when you signed on to Bush’s scheme of privatizing social security. You can’t change America and give our workers a fighting chance when after 3 million manufacturing jobs disappear, you continue to support tax breaks for companies who ship our jobs overseas. You can’t change America and end this war in Iraq when you declare and, again, these are John’s words, no one has supported President Bush in Iraq more than I have, end of quote. Ladies and gentlemen, you can’t change America, you can’t change America when you know your first four years as president will look exactly like the last eight years of George Bush’s presidency.

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama: Vice President Announcement Springfield, IL, August 23, 2008

Nineteen months ago, on a cold February day right here on the steps of the Old State Capitol, I stood before you to announce my candidacy for President of the United States of America.

We started this journey with a simple belief: that the American people were better than their government in Washington – a government that has fallen prey to special interests and policies that have left working people behind. As I’ve travelled to towns and cities, farms and factories, front porches and fairgrounds in almost all fifty states – that belief has been strengthened. Because at this defining moment in our history – with our nation at war, and our economy in recession – we know that the American people cannot afford four more years of the same failed policies and the same old politics in Washington. We know that the time for change has come.

For months, I’ve searched for a leader to finish this journey alongside me, and to join in me in making Washington work for the American people. I searched for a leader who understands the rising costs confronting working people, and who will always put their dreams first. A leader who sees clearly the challenges facing America in a changing world, with our security and standing set back by eight years of a failed foreign policy. A leader who shares my vision of an open government that calls all citizens – Democrats, Republicans and Independents – to a common purpose. Above all, I searched for a leader who is ready to step in and be President.

Today, I have come back to Springfield to tell you that I’ve found that leader – a man with a distinguished record and a fundamental decency – Joe Biden.

Joe Biden is that rare mix – for decades, he has brought change to Washington, but Washington hasn’t changed him. He’s an expert on foreign policy whose heart and values are rooted firmly in the middle class. He has stared down dictators and spoken out for America’s cops and firefighters. He is uniquely suited to be my partner as we work to put our country back on track….

We know what we’re going to get from the other side. Four more years of the same out-of-touch policies that created an economic disaster at home, and a disastrous foreign policy abroad. Four more years of the same divisive politics that is all about tearing people down instead of lifting this country up.

We can’t afford more of the same. I am running for President because that’s a future that I don’t accept for my daughters and I don’t accept it for your children. It’s time for the change that the American people need.

Now, with Joe Biden at my side, I am confident that we can take this country in a new direction; that we are ready to overcome the adversity of the last eight years; that we won’t just win this election in November, we’ll restore that fair shot at your dreams that is at the core of who Joe Biden and I are as people, and what America is as a nation. So let me introduce you to the next Vice President of the United States of America…

Hillary Clinton’s formal comment on Obama’s choice of Biden as his running mate: In naming my colleague and friend Senator Joe Biden to be the vice presidential nominee, Senator Obama has continued in the best traditions for the vice presidency by selecting an exceptionally strong, experienced leader and devoted public servant. Senator Biden will be a purposeful and dynamic vice president who will help Senator Obama both win the presidency and govern this great country.

Obama speaking in Chester, Va., August 21, 2008: “Somebody asked John McCain, ‘How many houses do you have?’ And he said, I’m not sure. I’ll have to check with my staff. True quote: I’m not sure, I’ll have to check with my staff. So they asked his staff and he said, at least four. At least four! … If you’re like me and you’ve got one house – or you were like the millions of people who are struggling right now to keep up with their mortgage so that they don’t lose their home — you might have a different perspective. By the way, the answer is: John McCain has seven homes. So there’s just a fundamental gap of understanding between John McCain’s world and what people are going through every single day here in America.”

McCain spokesman Brian Rogers in response to Obama “Seven” ad, about the nuber of houses the McCain’s owns, August 21, 2008: “Does a guy who made more than $4 million last year, just got back from vacation on a private beach in Hawaii and bought his own million-dollar mansion with the help of a convicted felon really want to get into a debate about houses? Does a guy who worries about the price of arugula and thinks regular people ‘cling’ to guns and religion in the face of economic hardship really want to have a debate about who’s in touch with regular Americans? The reality is that Barack Obama’s plans to raise taxes and opposition to producing more energy here at home as gas prices skyrocket show he’s completely out of touch with the concerns of average Americans.

Obama on His Veep Thinking a Time interview Download

Barack Obama describing his ideal running-mate, 8-19-08:
I want somebody who has integrity, who’s in politics for the right reasons, I want somebody who is independent. Somebody who is able to say to me, ‘You know what, Mr. President, I think you’re wrong on this and here’s why,’ and who will help me think through major issues and consult with me, would be a key advisor. I want somebody who is capable of being president and who I would trust to be president. That’s the first criteria for VP. And the final thing is, I want a president (SIC) who shares with me a passion to make the lives of the American people better than they are right now. I want someone who is not in it just because they want to have their name up in lights or end up being president. I want somebody who is mad right now that people are losing their jobs. And is mad right now that people have seen their incomes decline, and wants to rebuild the middle class in this country. That’s the kind of person that I want; somebody who in their gut knows where they came from and believes that we have to grow this country from the bottom up.

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