Saturday, August 23, 2008

Obama Picks Joe Biden as VP Running Mate

Advocate reports:
Weeks of intense speculation ended early Saturday morning when Senator Barack Obama announced that he had selected Senator Joseph Biden Jr. of Delaware to be his running mate. CNN first reported the choice, which was disclosed to Obama supporters via a highly anticipated text message at 3:31 a.m. EST. Biden, 65, brings to the Democratic ticket a strong but not perfect record on gay rights accumulated since he was elected to the Senate in 1972. He received a score of 78 percent on the Human Rights Campaign’s 2006 Congressional Scorecard. In 2006, Biden voted against the federal constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. Although he stated in 2003 that he believes same-sex marriage is inevitable, he currently supports civil unions that would grant the same legal rights as marriage. He voted for the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996.

BBC reports:
Hillary Clinton, who had been touted as a possible running mate, said Senator Biden would be a "purposeful and dynamic vice-president". "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," she said in a statement.

Ottawa Citizen reports:
In the CBS interview, Obama detailed the criteria he used to make his selection. "Obviously, the most important question is: Is this person prepared to be president?" he said. "The second most important question, from my perspective, is: 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?" he added. "And the third criteria for me, I think, was independence. I want somebody who is going to be able to challenge my thinking and not simply be a yes-person when it comes to policy-making."

Japan Herald reports:
Senator Joe Biden, 65, is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a veteran voice on international affairs. It is believed he was chosen to bring foreign policy expertise to the ticket as well as strong working-class roots to connect with blue-collar voters. Senator Biden is a Roman Catholic originally from the state of Pennsylvania.

BBC reports:
US Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama has announced that Senator Joe Biden will be his running mate in November's election. Mr Obama's choice, confirmed on his website and with a text message to supporters, comes ahead of next week's Democratic Party convention. Mr Biden, a 65-year-old veteran lawmaker, is highly respected on foreign policy issues. [Biden]... is known as a strong orator and chairs the Foreign Relations Committee - something analysts say would balance Mr Obama's self-confessed lack of foreign policy experience. The son of a car salesman, he is also expected to appeal to the blue collar workers with whom Mr Obama has struggled to connect. The senator ran against Mr Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton for the presidential nomination but dropped out after failing to gain enough support.

Associated Press reports:
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."

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.

Ottawa Citizen reports:
Biden has a reputation for verbosity that has gotten him into trouble on occasion during his Senate career, including some highly-publicized comments about Obama in early 2007. In an interview in the New York Observer, Biden infuriated African American critics with remarks about Obama that were viewed as racially insensitive. "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy," he told the newspaper. "I mean, that's a storybook, man." Biden immediately apologized. The Delaware lawmaker was forced to abandon his first White House campaign in 1988 after being caught using parts of a speech by British politician Neil Kinnock without credit. [Please note that Media Matters for America reported: Media outlets reported allegations Biden plagiarized Kinnock, but not that he had previously credited him].

BBC reports:
The McCain camp called the choice of Mr Biden an admission by Barack Obama that he was not ready to be president. "Biden has denounced Barack Obama's poor foreign policy judgement and has strongly argued in his own words what Americans are quickly realising - that Barack Obama is not ready to be president," McCain campaign spokesman Ben Porritt said in a statement.

Senator Joe Biden's record on GLBT Issues here and here.