Friday, September 19, 2008

Meet Joe Biden: Democratic Attack Dog

'He's half Pit bull and half Collie. He'll tear an arm off and then go for help.'

“If I sound angry, it’s because I am angry,” Mr. Biden told a few hundred people gathered at a high-school football field. Yes, he sounds angry, yelling through his stump speeches, flailing his arms and telling a (supportive) member of the audience to “Shush up, will you?” (“I’m kidding, he added, but did not sound it.)

But the reality for Mr. Biden is that while running mates are second-fiddlers by definition, the phenomenon of Ms. Palin has rendered him something of a fourth or fifth fiddle. It is not like last month, when reporters swarmed Mr. Biden’s Delaware home and delegates swooned at the Democratic convention. He is now trailed by just a few national reporters, and struggling to break through in a race marked by historic firsts, political celebrities and charismatic newcomers — none named Joe Biden.

The Obama campaign was hoping to reintroduce Mr. Biden this week as running mate attack dog. But his penchant for verbal rambling ensured that much of the attention he drew was unwanted: he said wealthy Americans had a “patriotic” duty to pay more taxes, a remark the McCain campaign mocked relentlessly.

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