Martin: Biden must deliver for Team Obama
Don't think Vice President Joe Biden isn't secretly relishing the idea of having to deliver a knockout performance in Thursday's debate in order to right the sails of President Barack Obama's 2012 re-election bid.
He has been lampooned as being an embarrassment -- some Democrats, like former Virginia Gov. Doug Wilder, have openly stated he should be replaced on the ticket by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- and his 36 years as a U.S. senator are often overlooked and marginalized.
The old political adage that a VP pick can only hurt and not help the top of the ticket is wrong. In this case, a strong debate performance by Biden will be welcomed with open arms in Chicago and the White House.
One of the reasons why we can expect Biden to be far more effective debating than Obama was is because Biden is a much better politician than President Obama is. He doesn't just tolerate the rope line at campaign stops; he eats it up. Obama despises the incessant schmoozing and back-slapping in politics; Biden is energized by it. Whereas Obama is cool as the other side of the pillow, Biden is always fired up and ready to go.
If there ever was any time President Obama needs his vice president to "be the man," now is the time.
And Biden loves the fact that the president must depend on him.
It's abundantly clear that President Obama stunk up the joint in the first debate against Mitt Romney. He was listless, lackluster and afraid to go on the attack and pin Romney down on specifics and to call out lies.
Rep. Paul Ryan, don't think for a second Biden will be as conciliatory and forgiving.
Both men will be aggressive and pointed in their criticism of each other.
Most folks don't realize that Biden has been an instrumental player in the Obama White House. He has a strong foreign policy background -- he was the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when a young upstart from Illinois joined -- and took the White House lead in deficit negotiations with Congress.
When Ryan goes in on the Obama team for the deficit, Biden will be able to say he was the one sitting across the table trying to negotiate with House Speaker John Boehner and his troops.
But expect Biden not to sound like a four-decade Washington insider. He will drop plenty of mentions of growing up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, as well as use more personal stories about the campaign trail than Obama does.
Expect a folksy Biden to a wonky Ryan.
Team Obama desperately needs the narrative changed. The polls show Romney got a huge bounce from his debate performance, and the last thing the Obama camp needs is another few days of bad press.
Joe Biden could very well be the right guy at the right time to right a leaky Obama ship.
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