Biden Brings Foreign Policy Heft, Risks to Obama Ticket

Delaware Senator offers experience but counters Obama's change message.

ByABC News
August 22, 2008, 10:13 PM

Aug. 23, 2008— -- Sen. Barack Obama's selection of Sen. Joe Biden as his running mate gives Obama immediate foreign-policy gravitas with a dependable party stalwart.

But 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.

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.

They will cut a unique profile as a team: Obama will be the fresh-faced voice of change, eager to stay positive, and Biden will be the experienced yet still energetic inside player, ready to attack when necessary -- and old enough to be Obama's father.

As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Biden is intimately familiar with the international scene and the big national-security challenges that face the nation.

He brings vast experience to a candidate who has spent most of his life outside of the political system.

But the danger for Obama is that he now has a running mate that highlights perhaps his biggest weakness: Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., enjoys a wide polling advantage on questions of foreign policy and national security, and Biden's selection serves to accentuate those very issues.