How Biden Boosted the Democratic Ticket

As Election Day approached, it appeared that Biden had been "muzzled," as Porritt put it, delivering carefully scripted 20-minute speeches read closely from the teleprompter and staying on message far more than earlier in the campaign. Combined with not doing a press availability since Sept. 7 or fielding audience questions in a town-hall style format since Sept. 10, the lawmaker who was the most accessible and colorful member of either ticket at the start of his time on the campaign trail had become the least so by the end of it.

"After cutting off members of the media for asking tough questions, press reports now indicate that Barack Obama has muzzled his own running mate for offering insight into Barack Obama's plan to raise taxes," Porritt said in a statement after Biden's Oct. 29 rally in Jupiter, Fla. "Biden's speech today is further proof that his entire candidacy is nothing more than scripted bluster and unscripted blunders."

A Boost to the Ticket

But despite Biden's slip-ups, the Obama campaign believed the Senate Foreign Relations chairman was an asset for the party, bolstering Obama's foreign-policy credentials and bringing added experience to the ticket.

One month after the running mates were named in late August, a Sept. 29 ABCNews/Washington Post poll showed that Biden's selection had made 25 percent of people more likely to vote for Obama, with 13 percent of people less likely to do so -- a net positive of 12 percentage points.

On the other hand, people said Palin's presence as a running mate made 23 percent of them more likely to vote for McCain, but 32 percent of them less likely to support the GOP ticket -- a net negative of nine percentage points.

"The contrast with John McCain's vice presidential choice is dramatic," Wade said. "When battleground state newspapers endorse Barack Obama, they mention his wise choice of Joe Biden as a reason why. Palin? Not so much. Biden's done 200 interviews as of [Oct. 28] and after each debate he appeared on every network morning show to make the case for Obama. Palin? Not so much."

Some major newspapers have agreed, with The New York Times touting Obama's selection of Biden in its Oct. 23 endorsement of the Democratic ticket.

"Mr. Obama would have a learning curve on foreign affairs, but he has already showed sounder judgment than his opponent on these critical issues," read the editorial. "His choice of Senator Joseph Biden -- who has deep foreign-policy expertise -- as his running mate is another sign of that sound judgment. Mr. McCain's long interest in foreign policy and the many dangers this country now faces make his choice of Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska more irresponsible."

At every rally across the nation, Biden blasted McCain's economic and foreign-policy plans while touting Obama's judgment and character.

Biden also visited parts of the country that Obama had not hit, regions that fell into Republican hands four years ago. Of Biden's 67 events, not counting fundraisers and joint rallies with Obama, 35 were in counties that were carried by Bush in 2004.

The six-term senator, as he did Sept. 5 in Langhorne, Pa., has frequently quoted a line that former President Truman once said to a supporter who yelled out "Give 'em hell, Harry!"

"And he yelled back, 'I'm not going to give them hell -- I'm going to tell them the truth and they're going to think it's hell!'" Biden said, as always garnering huge applause from his audience.

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