Watchdog Blog

Mary C. Curtis: Biden Tries to Change the Narrative

Posted at 4:45 pm, September 16th, 2008
Mary Curtis Mug

It can’t be easy for Joe Biden.

After all, how can years of Senate experience match up against the biggest celebrity on the political scene? When Biden came to Charlotte, N.C., Sunday night, his tone sometimes veered toward the dramatic, but his message was meat and potatoes. Even the crowd’s chant of “Let’s go, Joe!” was all business. He only mentioned Sarah Palin’s name once.

Biden kept the focus on issues, particularly, health care, which is where the Democrats must want it. They probably don’t want to ever hear the words lipstick or pig again.

The only thing the audience at Phillip O. Berry Academy might share with their GOP counterpart is disdain for the media. Some blamed them for the hype.

Of Palin, Calvin Getter, 70, of Charlotte, said, “The media are very easy on her.” He was more interested in hearing what Biden had to say. Getter was impressed with Biden’s knowledge of foreign relations. “He’s an honorable man,” he said. “He can be president if he needs to be.”

But there’s no denying the power of a good life story.

So while Biden hit hard on the state of the economy, tax credits for small businesses, and the issue of equal pay for equal work, there were also quotes from his father about fighting through adversity and the anecdote about the mid-convention sleepover between Obama’s daughters and Biden’s granddaughters.

Both vice presidential candidates have sons deploying to Iraq. Considering their differing views on how to best handle America’s involvement there, that might be a case where the personal and political collide.

Biden acknowledged the star power of Obama, saying he “tapped into the aspirations of the American people,” and that Obama “caught lightning in a bottle,” hoping, I’m sure, to catch that lightning again and ramp up an enthusiasm level that some Democrats fear is fading.

But it may be the voters who decide how much the candidates’ life stories matter when stations are running out of high-priced gas.

Shekar Mantha, 48, is an independent voter who thinks the issue is Barack Obama and John McCain and their political positions. “Palin’s not going to be president,” he said.

The software consultant, who owns a business with his wife, is concerned about a litany of issues, and he did not hesitate to passionately list them, from reducing the country’s dependence on oil from countries that are “sponsors of terrorism” to restoring what he sees as more balance on a too-conservative the Supreme Court. “It’s not that I agree with Obama 100 percent, I disagree with the opposition 5,000 percent,” Mantha said.

One Response to “Biden Tries to Change the Narrative”

  1. Ed Mesko says:

    Hi, Mary, best wishes to you.

    Following is a letter in response to a column by Ms Rubin, which is balances your article. Comments?

    Ms Rubin writes that Obama is the man of the future while McCain is the man of the past. It is quite obvious that with his weakness toward home land security, his penchant for freebies to illegal immigrants, and his distain for the military, Obama has forgotten the past, so much so that he threatens the United States “Right to Life” with the same passion and lack of respect he has for babies who survived an abortion. Obama is not open minded and does not know history. McCain is open minded and does know history and will be a leader we can trust.

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