Biden Must Deliver for Team Obama

By Roland S. Martin

October 10, 2012 4 min read

Don't think Vice President Joe Biden isn't secretly relishing the idea of him having to deliver a knockout performance in Thursday's debate in order to right the rocky sails of President Barack Obama's 2012 re-election bid.

He has been lampooned as an embarrassment. Some Democrats, like former Virginia Gov. Doug Wilder, openly stated Biden should be replaced 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 vice president 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 in Chicago and the White House.

One of the reasons why we can expect Biden to be a far more effective debater than Obama is because Biden is a much better politician than President Obama. He doesn't just tolerate the rope line at campaign stops; he eats it up. Obama despises the incessant schmoozing and backslapping in politics; Biden is energized by it. Whereas Obama is as 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, refusing to pin Romney down on specifics and call out his 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 chair 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 criticizes the Obama administration for the deficit, Biden can truthfully discuss his attempts at negotiating with Speaker John Boehner and his recruits.

Don't expect Biden to sound like a four-decade Washington insider. He will mention growing up in Scranton, Pa. and use even more personal stories from the campaign trail than Obama.

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 fix a leaky Obama ship.

Roland S. Martin is an award-winning CNN analyst and author of the book "The First: President Barack Obama's Road to the White House as Originally Reported by Roland S. Martin." Please visit his website at To find out more about Roland S. Martin and read his past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at

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