Biden Speech a Family Affair
By Perry Bacon, Jr.
DENVER -- For Joe Biden, politics has always been a family affair, and his biggest night on the national stage will be no exception.
While Sen. Barack Obama hired a full staff to work with the vice presidential nominee even before he was selected, campaign aides said the two key players in crafting tonight's speech by the Delaware senator were his son, Beau, and his sister, Valerie, who has run many of his political campaigns, including his failed 2008 presidential run. Also at the helm were Anthony Blinken and Ted Kaufman, two longtime aides.
They were helped by a number of veterans of Democratic convention speeches past, including Andrei Cherny, a former speechwriter for Al Gore and John Kerry, and David Axelrod, Obama's chief strategist.
The speech will mix Biden's biography with a sharp critique of Sen. John McCain's record, particularly on foreign policy issues.
But it will also serve as a test of how well the long-winded senator adapts to his new role as one of the chief advocates of a candidate who likes to be on time and on message. In a well-received speech Saturday in Springfield, Biden also managed to mention that his wife was "drop-dead gorgeous" and that her doctorate degree might be a "problem."
Either way, millions of Americans will learn that Biden considers them "ladies and gentlemen," a phrase he uses to start and end speeches, as well as transition between sentences.
Posted at 5:54 PM ET on Aug 27, 2008
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