At the vice-president debate held on Thursday, Vice President Biden showed he’s the boss over Paul Ryan. In true Biden style, Vice President Joe Biden laughed, joked, smirked but overall educated the TV viewing audience on his expertise in foreign and domestic policy and took it straight to the American people. He asked “who do you trust” and trust your gut, looking straight into the camera. And that’s really what the election boils down to. No one listening at home really knows if the numbers on $5 trillion are correct or incorrect.
If you are not a party faithful and still undecided or hovering back and forth, it all comes down to whom you believe. That’s why it was important for Biden to show that he has present day knowledge of facts and historical command of the facts. And he did it in convincing form from where I sat. And an instant CBS poll of undecided or uncommitted voters agreed –saying Biden won by 50% with 19% saying the debate was a tie.
Before the debate, in an interview with Diane Sawyer, President Obama was asked what advice he would give to Joe Biden. And President Obama said for Biden to be himself. I think that like it or not, Biden was himself.
I met Vice President Biden for the first time shortly after the inauguration. It was on a stairway in a Washington, DC hotel where he was being quickly whisked away somewhere by Secret Service. But as I was coming up the stairs and meeting him going down the stairs, he stopped with a huge smile on his face, as if he were greeting and seeing a long lost friend. And he stopped to talk to me briefly with a huge smile. I recall he definitely appeared to love his new job as VP. He was not campaigning or seeking votes. He was just being friendly. And that’s the Joe Biden that showed up last night. He was enjoying his job and having fun at the expense of Paul Ryan.
And that leads me to the next point for the next presidential debate. President Obama must show up as himself. He is not Joe Biden. He does not have Joe Biden’s personality from what I can see. But the zombie that showed up for the first debate must be replaced by the real personality of President Obama. He needs to call out Romney on his lies, flip flops and “malarkey” and make a convincing and emotional case for the American people of what’s at stake. There are voters still undecided and wavering voters. Although there are two more debates, President Obama must seal the deal at the second debate. And if there’s anything to be taken from Joe Biden’s performance, he must do it in a convincing fashion. He has the ability but he must deliver the goods.
When I met Joe Biden in early 2009, it was just five or six months after I wrote a scathing Washington Post editorial letter on August 24, 2008 that also appeared on CNN on August 25, 2008 about what I thought of Obama’s poor choice of Joe Biden as his running mate for a campaign based on change. It may have taken over four years, but I take back those words I said in the letter.
Biden deserves to be Vice President and I feel secure having him as the second in command—a heart-beat away from the presidency.
Washington, DC based Debbie Hines is a former prosecutor and founder of LegalSpeaks, a progressive blog on women and race in law and politics. As a legal and political commentator she has appeared in national, international and local media including the Michael Eric Dyson Show, local NBC, ABC and CBS affiliates, RT TV, CBC- Canadian TV, NPR, XM Sirius radio, the Baltimore Sun, Washington Post and Washington Times among others. She also contributes articles to the Huffington Post and the Women’s Media Center.