The Note: Rocky Roads

"Whether you see Biden's strengths as augmenting Obama or highlighting the Illinois senator's weaknesses, there's no doubt the two fit like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle," Time's Jay Newton-Small writes. Dan Balz writes in The Washington Post. "Biden's opening speech at a joint appearance with Obama on Saturday in Springfield, Ill., not only included tough words about McCain but also underscored his potential to sharpen the campaign's message on the middle-class economic issues that are paramount with the electorate."

"To many voters, Biden is likely to be seen as someone who could step in and run the country as president if anything were to happen to Obama," Jill Zuckman writes in the Chicago Tribune.

"Experienced, intelligent and savvy, Obama's choice, in retrospect, could not have been anyone else," Reid Wilson writes for Real Clear Politics.

"Over the course of two months, as the dynamics of the presidential campaign and world events shifted quickly, Mr. Biden's stock rose through one of the most rigorous vice-presidential vetting processes that Democrats could recall," Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg write in a fascinating New York Times tick-tock. "But people involved in the process said it was not just foreign policy that tilted the balance. They said Mr. Obama's decision had as much to do with Mr. Biden's appeal among white working-class voters and compelling personal story, and his conclusion that the Delaware senator was 'a worker.' "

The first joint event showed him working it hard -- this is what Obama signed him up to do. "He'll have to figure out which of the seven kitchen tables to sit at," Biden said, per ABC's Jake Tapper, Brian Wheeler, and Jennifer Parker (a quicker joining of the fray than we can remember from previous running mates). http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Vote2008/story?id=5467576&page=1 "A long foreign policy resume isn't the only thing Sen. Barack Obama gets by picking Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware as his running mate. He also gets a scrappy, political pit bull to fend off Republican attacks, perhaps allowing Obama to spend more time on the high ground where he has long been more comfortable," M.E. Sprengelmeyer writes in the Rocky Mountain News.

And yet, this lingers: "It suggested a concern by Mr. Obama's advisers that his overseas trip this summer may not have done enough to deal with persistent voter concerns about his level of experience, especially on national security," Adam Nagourney and Jeff Zeleny write in The New York Times. "He announced his decision in a period in which his race against Mr. McCain is proving more difficult than many Democrats had assumed it would be."

"The candidate of change went with the status quo," the AP's Ron Fournier writes. No. 3 on the top-five lesson list, from Politico's Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen: "He's insecure about security."

Maybe it was a 3 am moment, after all: "Picking Biden, D-Del., also sends a stark signal that the Obama campaign is worried that the presidential nominee is in danger of flunking the commander-in-chief test," per ABC News. "Rather than helping with the electoral map -- as Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., or Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine might have -- or reinforcing his message of a new brand of leadership, as Kaine or Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius would have, Biden fills a hole on Obama's resume."

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