ABC News’ Matt Jaffe Reports: For the first time in five weeks, Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., Tuesday fielded questions from his traveling press corps, applauding Republican candidate John McCain for standing up to some of the "attitude" expressed by GOP supporters at rallies and denouncing the Republicans for "over the top" ads.
"I was proud that John decided to take on some of the attitude that was expressed at one of his campaign rallies and I hope he keeps it up," Biden said, referencing McCain’s attempt to temper the fervor of his supporters at a Minnesota rally last week.
Continued Biden, "In my view, the ads that are being run picturing Barack Obama and people saying ‘known terrorist’ — I think that’s over the top."
As he continued his two-day bus tour across the Buckeye State stopping at Lisbon’s Steel Trolley Diner for lunch, Biden said "Barack Obama was eight years old when this guy Ayers was doing bad things."
Biden says he knows about Ayers but has never met him and pushed back on the notion that the former sixties radical could be classified under the general perception of terrorist. I think the average person looks out there and sees this guy who they say is a known terrorist, and I think they – the vast majority of the American people associate terrorism with, you know, radical Islamic groups and al Qaeda. I just think it’s – I think it’s over the top."
The Democratic vice-presidential nominee frequently notes that he considers Republican candidate Sen. John McCain a good friend, even while criticizing GOP ads that attack Sen. Barack Obama’s character and background.
McCain is aware that Biden disapproves of the GOP’s campaign tactics, the Delaware lawmaker said, even though the two senators have not seen each other since a September 11 service forum in New York City.
"I know John knows my views," Biden said, indicating his believe that voters will look past political attacks to focus on the issues at hand.
"They want to know what is John McCain, what is Barack Obama going to do to change their circumstance? What is it gonna do?," Biden said. "All through Ohio here, people are losing jobs. Their homes are being foreclosed on. The people who aren’t having their homes foreclosed on, they’re looking at the nest egg they had and the equity in their home drying up. And they want to know what we’re going to do."
Crediting former president Bill Clinton, Biden paraphrased "all campaigns are about tomorrow, not yesterday."
Continued Biden, "I think that’s what people want to know. And I think when you don’t talk about those things, when you don’t lay out, when you spend more time talking about your opponent than you do what you’re going to do, then I think it’s fairly transparent."
Biden said he felt "good" about tomorrow’s debate, expressing "total confidence" in Obama.
Biden warned that he would be "disappointed" to see McCain bring up Ayers in Wednesday’s third and final debate, though McCain has threatened to do so in response to Obama’s suggestion that the Republican candidate doesn’t have the guts to raise the issue to his face.
All Obama has to do, Biden says, is "repeat the performance he’s had the last two times out."
Biden said the debates have contrasted "a guy who’s confident and steady and a guy who’s not quite sure of where he wants to take the country."
The traveling press corps was satiated by Biden’s Q&A, but the senator was still hungry for his lunch, ending the brief session with "I’m looking for my cheeseburger here."