News & Current Affairs

August 23, 2008

Obama picks Biden as running-mate

Obama picks Biden as running-mate

File image of John McCain with Barack Obama, August 2007

Mr Obama could benefit from Biden’s foreign policy clout, analysts say

US Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama has announced that Joe Biden will be his running mate in November’s election.

Mr Obama’s choice, confirmed on his website, comes ahead of next week’s Democratic Party convention.

Mr Biden, a 65-year-old veteran lawmaker, has over three decades of Senate experience and is highly respected on foreign policy issues.

Republican contender John McCain could announce his choice next week.

Speculation is mounting that Senator McCain may name his running mate on 29 August, his 72nd birthday and a day after the Democrats wrap up their convention.

‘Impressive record’

The announcement came shortly after several US media networks began reporting that Mr Biden had been chosen.

“Barack has chosen Joe Biden to be his running mate,” a brief statement on Mr Obama’s campaign website said.

Senator Joe Biden (file image)

“Joe Biden brings extensive foreign policy experience, an impressive record of collaborating across party lines, and a direct approach to getting the job done,” it said.

The two men are expected to appear together at a rally in Springfield, Illinois, later in the day.

Mr Biden has represented the state of Delaware in the US Senate since 1972.

He is known as a strong orator and chairs the Foreign Relations Committee – something analysts say would balance Mr Obama’s self-confessed lack of foreign policy experience.

The son of a car salesman, he is also expected to appeal to the blue collar workers with whom Mr Obama has struggled to connect.

OFFICE OF THE VICE-PRESIDENT
Second-highest executive officer in the United States
Assumes the top role if the president cannot continue in office
One of four statutory members of the National Security Council

The senator ran against Mr Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton for the presidential nomination but dropped out after failing to gain enough support.

The McCain camp called the choice of Mr Biden an admission by Barack Obama that he was not ready to be president.

“Biden has denounced Barack Obama’s poor foreign policy judgement and has strongly argued in his own words what Americans are quickly realising – that Barack Obama is not ready to be president,” McCain campaign spokesman Ben Porritt said in a statement.

John McCain has reportedly not yet settled on a running mate.

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney are reported to be under serious consideration for the role.

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July 31, 2008

McCain camp compares Obama to Spears, Hilton

McCain camp compares Obama to Spears, Hilton

AURORA, Colo. – John McCain’s presidential campaign on Wednesday released a withering television ad comparing Barack Obama to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, suggesting the Democratic contender is little more than a vapid but widely recognized media concoction.
Obama’s campaign quickly responded with a commercial of its own, dismissing McCain’s complaints as “baloney” and “baseless.”

McCain’s ad, titled “Celeb” and set to air in 11 battleground states, intercuts images of Obama on his trip to Europe last week with video of twenty-something pop stars Spears and Hilton — both better known for their childish off-screen antics.

“He’s the biggest celebrity in the world, but is he ready to lead?” the voiceover asks, noting the Illinois senator’s opposition to offshore oil drilling and suggesting he would raise taxes if elected.

It was the latest effort by the GOP hopeful to cast Obama as a lightweight with little experience in leadership or governing. It also was risky for McCain’s campaign to both acknowledge Obama’s worldwide fame and depict it as a weakness rather than a strength.

Campaigning in Missouri, Obama said the ad was the latest example of McCain’s negativity — a theme his campaign has tried to stress lately.

“He doesn’t seem to have anything positive to say about me, does he?” Obama said. “You need to ask John McCain what he’s for, not just what he’s against.”

Obama also said the link to Hilton shows Republicans are leaving no stone unturned in their attempts to tarnish him.

“I’ve never even met the woman,” he said.

Hilton’s spokesman Jason Moore also commented, saying “Miss Hilton was neither asked, nor did she give permission, for the use of her likeness in the ad, and has no further comment.”

The Obama campaign ad, released hours after McCain’s, shows images of the Arizona senator with President Bush and accuses McCain of practicing “the politics of the past.” The campaign said it could air as soon as Thursday.

It was the second Obama ad in as many days responding to negative spots by McCain. But it was unclear how broadly the campaign intended to run it. The campaign typically identifies states where its ads air, but on Wednesday only said this ad would appear “in some markets.”

Kathleen Hall Jamieson, a communications professor at the University of Pennsylvania, said McCain’s comparison of Obama to Spears and Hilton likely would not persuade many voters.

“The typical viewer will fail to see the analogy,” she said. “Voters believe Sen. Obama is a celebrity, but not in the same sense as Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. So when you are asking, ‘What are they doing in the ad?,’ it distracts attention from the message of the ad.”

McCain did not mention the ad at a town-hall meeting in Colorado, but reiterated many of his complaints about Obama.

“The beauty of his words have attracted many people, especially among the young to his campaign,” McCain told workers at Wagner Equipment, which rents and sells heavy farm machinery. “My concern with Sen. Obama is with issues big and small. What he says and what he does are often two different things.”

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