Obama names Joe Biden as running mate
Monday, 25 August 2008

Agencies

The Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama today named the veteran politician Joe Biden as his running mate, his campaign confirmed.

Biden's credentials as the chair of the Senate's foreign relations committee are expected to help Obama's campaign challenge claims of a lack of foreign policy experience.
 
However, critics say choosing the 65-year-old Delaware senator, who has three decades of experience in Washington, goes against Obama's pledge of change in the White House.
 
The decision was announced on Obama's website, which carried the message: "Barack has chosen Joe Biden to be his running mate.
 
"Joe Biden brings extensive foreign policy experience, an impressive record of collaborating across party lines and a direct approach to getting the job done."
 
The announcement was confirmed in a text message to supporters following two months of fevered speculation.
 
Later, Hillary Clinton, who was beaten by Obama in an often-bitter primary season, said: "In naming my colleague and friend Senator Joe Biden to be the vice presidential nominee, Senator Obama has continued in the best traditions for the vice presidency by selecting an exceptionally strong, experienced leader and devoted public servant."
 
The former first lady went on: "Senator Biden will be a purposeful and dynamic vice president who will help Senator Obama both win the presidency and govern this great country."
 
Earlier this week, before naming his running mate, Obama said he had chosen someone who would be able to help him govern and would offer independent advice.
 
Biden had been considered the frontrunner for the job in recent weeks, a position confirmed by a last-minute and unscheduled trip to meet the president of Georgia last weekend.
 
The country's conflict with Russia has seen international issues return to the forefront of the campaign battleground.
 
Biden has led strong attacks on John McCain's Republican foreign policy approach for its support of George Bush in focusing on Iraq.
 
He will make his first speech as the vice-presidential nominee at the Democratic party's national convention in Denver, Colorado, next week.
 
The other potential vice presidential nominees included Tim Kaine, the governor of the swing state of Virginia, and Evan Bayh, the Indiana senator who it was thought would help Obama shore up support in the midwest.
 
McCain is expected to name his vice presidential nominee next week. The Minnesota governor, Tim Pawlenty, and the former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney are reportedly among those being considered.
 
However, the choice of a running mate is not likely to swing the elections.
 
Biden is known for being talkative and is prone to making statements which get him in to trouble.
 
Last year, as a Democratic presidential hopeful, he said Obama was "not yet ready" for the presidency - a remark that will be seized upon by the Republican attack machine prior to the November 4 election.
 
Even before Obama confirmed Biden's selection, McCain campaign spokesman Ben Porritt said: "There has been no harsher critic of Barack Obama's lack of experience than Joe Biden.
 
"Biden has denounced Barack Obama's poor foreign policy judgment and has strongly argued in his own words what Americans are quickly realising - that Barack Obama is not ready to be president."
 
Biden, who dropped out of the presidential race in Iowa in January, is of Irish Catholic heritage but is in favour of abortion rights, a key issue in US elections.

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