How Biden Boosted the Democratic Ticket

And give the Republicans hell Biden has, ripping McCain and Palin on a regular basis, as he did in a blistering address at his home state's Jefferson-Jackson Dinner Oct. 13.

"Barack Obama and I want to attack America's problems," Biden said. "It appears that all Sarah Palin and John McCain want to do is attack us. We want to attack problems. They want to attack us."

Although he initially displayed a reluctance to go after Palin -- calling her "good-looking" in Toledo Aug. 31 in his first comments on McCain's surprise pick as running mate -- Biden eventually began to blast his GOP counterpart.

"She said in the middle of that debate as she was winking at y'all, she said she'd been listening to my speeches since she was in second grade," Biden said of the lawmakers' much-watched vice presidential debate Oct. 2 in St. Louis. "Well, I guess, just like she can see Russia from Alaska, she can see Delaware from Alaska."

The only problem was that Palin had never made that comment at the Show Me State showdown, but rather she said it days before at a Columbus, Ohio, rally. No matter. Biden, whose penchant for hyperbole and embellishing the truth is well known, pressed on with his punch line.

"She looked over at me, she said, 'well, I was in second grade when Sen. Biden got first elected.' I was inclined to say, 'but yes, governor, you were in sixth grade the last time Sen. McCain had a good idea.' You know, but I didn't, I didn't."

When the two vice presidential nominees stacked up against each other in polls, Biden emerged the clear winner.

An Oct. 21 Pew poll found that 60 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of Biden, compared to 44 percent of Palin, while an Oct. 15 Bloomberg poll showed that 76 percent of registered voters think Biden is prepared to be president, while 43 percent say the same for Palin.

The senator has also attracted moderates as well, with nearly four in 10 moderates in an Oct. 7 ABC News/Washington Post saying they were less likely to support McCain after the Palin pick, only two said they were more likely. Compare that to Biden attracting three times as many moderates to Obama as he drives away.

And it's not just that voters believe Biden is ready to lead, but the Irish-Catholic Biden has helped Obama among Catholics. A Sept. 9-14 Pew survey found Obama and McCain virtually deadlocked among Catholics, with the former up 45 percent to 44 percent; six weeks later, Obama's advantage had skyrocketed to a 54 percent to 34 percent lead.

Emotions Run Deep

Along with the lawmaker's sense of humor and startling honesty, another Biden staple on the stump was his emotional addresses.

The senator lost his first wife and child in a 1972 car accident that also seriously injured his two young sons, Beau and Hunter.

Just days after being named as Obama's running mate, Biden became very emotional when thanking supporters at a Delaware delegation breakfast in Denver.

"This is a great honor being nominated vice president of the United States," Biden said Aug. 26. "And it is an honor and I'm proud of it. I don't mean in any way to diminish it. But it pales in comparison to the honor that I've had representing you," Biden said, choking up. "I apologize for getting a little emotional."

His Delaware supporters, Biden said, helped him persevere through personal tragedy.

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