And then, there’s going so far that the praise diminishes yourself and sticking your foot in your mouth.
At a town hall in Nashua, N.H., this afternoon, Senator Joe Biden seemed to veer off into the latter when talking about Hillary Clinton, whom many of her supporters wanted Barack Obama to pick as his running mate instead of Biden.
“Hillary Clinton is as qualified or more qualified than I am to be vice president of the United States of America,” Biden said. “Letâ€™s get that straight. Sheâ€™s a truly close personal friend; she is qualified to be president of the United States of America. Sheâ€™s easily qualified to be vice president of the United States of America and quite frankly it might have been a better pick than me, but she is first-rate.â€
Republican John McCain’s campaign quickly sent out a video of it. It has been courting Clinton’s supporters, especially white women, and the polls suggesting McCain is making inroads.
Senator Barack Obama has chosen Senator Joseph Biden Jr. of Delaware to be his running-mate, turning to a leading authority on foreign policy and a longtime Washington hand to fill out the Democratic ticket, people told of the decision said.
Obama’s selection ended a two-month search that was conducted almost entirely in secret. It reflected a critical strategic choice by Obama: To go with a running-mate who could reassure voters about gaps in his resume, rather than to pick someone who could deliver a state or reinforce Obama’s message of change.
Biden is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and is familiar with foreign leaders and diplomats around the world. Although he initially voted to authorize the war in Iraq â€” Obama opposed it from the start â€” Biden became a persistent critic of President George W. Bush’s policies in Iraq.
The selection was disclosed as Obama moves into a critical part of his campaign, preparing for the party’s four-day convention in Denver starting on Monday. Obama’s aides viewed the introduction of his vice presidential choiceâ€“ including an afternoon rally Saturday at the old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois, the same place where Obama announced his candidacy on a freezing winter morning almost two years ago, and a tour of swing states â€“ as the beginning of a week-long stretch in which Obama hopes to dominate the stage and position himself for the fall campaign.
Word of Obama’s decision leaked out hours before his campaign was scheduled to inform supporters via text and e-mail messages, and hours after informing two other top contenders for the vice presidential nomination â€“ Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana and Governor Tim Kaine of Virginia â€“ that they had not been chosen.
By Michael D. Shear
SEDONA, Ariz. — Sen. John McCain immediately began using Joe Biden’s own words against him early Saturday morning, drawing on the Democratic vice presidential nominee’s criticism of Sen. Barack Obama during the Democratic primary.
“There has been no harsher critic of Barack Obama’s lack of experience than Joe Biden,” said McCain spokesman Ben Porritt. “Biden has denounced Barack Obama’s poor foreign policy judgment and has strongly argued in his own words what Americans are quickly realizing — that Barack Obama is not ready to be President.”
Running against Obama for the presidency, Biden said nominating someone without national security credentials would be a “tragic mistake” and said that the presidency “is not something that lends itself to on-the-job-training.”
The first volley from McCain’s staff arrived at 1:50 a.m. ET, reflecting the new pace of presidential politics in the Internet era. And it foreshadowed what is certain to be a principal line of attack
Obama’s selection of Biden, which began leaking out Friday evening, set in motion a new Republican effort aimed at undermining the Democratic ticket even as the pair prepare to make their first public appearance as running mates in Springfield, Ill.
McCain aides are also likely to go after Biden by arguing that he does not represent the fundamental change that Obama has been promising since beginning his presidential run.
Biden, a 36-year veteran of the U.S. Senate, is a creature of Capitol Hill, someone who is steeped in the nuances of the legislature and is part of an institution that regularly gets terrible approval ratings by Americans.
Obama has been running against Washington, saying that the people there like McCain are the problem that needs to be fixed. McCain can argue that by choosing Biden, Obama abandons that case.
But McCain has to be careful. He has served in the Senate alongside Biden for more than two decades, a fact that Democrats are certain to point out. And Biden’s long experience with foreign policy issues is sure to blunt some of McCain’s criticisms of Obama.
Biden and McCain are friends, part of the elite Senate club, and are likely to offer praise for each other even as the general election campaign gets underway after the conventions.
But that will not prevent McCain from aiming his fire at his colleague, starting with Biden’s comments during the primary.
During one of the Democratic debates, Biden stood by comments about Obama that “I think he can be ready, but right now I don’t believe he is. The presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training.”
In August, Biden was harshly critical of Obama’s lack of experience, saying, “Having talking points on foreign policy doesn’t get you there.”