McCain ‘Biden’ Ad

Well, that didn’t take long.  The McCain campaign already has a spot out called “Biden,” highlighting newly anointed Barack Obama running mate Joe Biden quotes saying Obama lacks the experience to be president and that he’d be honored to serve with McCain.



ANNCR: What does Barack Obama’s running mate say about Barack Obama?

ABC’S GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: You were asked, “Is he ready?” You said, “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.”

JOE BIDEN: I think that I stand by the statement.

ANNCR: And what does he say about John McCain?

BIDEN: I would be honored to run with or against John McCain, because I think the country would be better off.

JOHN MCCAIN: I’m John McCain and I approve this message.


Joe Biden Said Obama Is Not Ready To Serve As President. ABC’s George Stephanopoulos: “You were asked is he ready. You said ‘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.'” Sen. Biden: “I think that I stand by the statement.” (ABC’s, “This Week,” 8/19/07)

Joe Biden Said He’d Be Honored To Run With McCain. Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart: “You may end up going against a Senate colleague, perhaps McCain, perhaps Frist?” Sen. Biden: “John McCain is a personal friend, a great friend, and I would be honored to run with or against John McCain, because I think the country would be better off — be well off no matter who…” Stewart: “Did I hear, Did I hear with?” Sen. Biden: “You know, John McCain and I think” Stewart: “Don’t become cottage cheese my friend. Say it.” Sen. Biden: “The answer is yes.” (Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” 8/2/05)


While a good ad, this is hardly a back breaker.  George H.W. Bush said worse things about Ronald Reagan during the 1980 primaries and they went on to win back-to-back-to back landslides (counting Bush’s solo drubbing of Michael Dukakis as an extension of the dynasty). Of course, Bush never gushed about Jimmy Carter, either.

It’s fair game, I think, to use statements running mates made in the primaries against them.  In this case, especially, Biden seemed to actually mean it.  I’m a bit more queasy about using an opposition party colleague’s praise against them in an ad spot.  That strikes me as rather unsporting and smarmy.

Update:  Steven Taylor expands on the last point.

It seems to me that all of this does it dissuade politicians from ever saying anything nice, conciliatory or even friendly about their political rivals for fear that it will come back to bite them in some future political campaign. That strikes me as a shame.


FILED UNDER: 2008 Election, The Presidency, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Ted says:

    Biden — the perfect foil for Palin!

  2. Bithead says:

    This is “change”?

  3. Hal says:

    Considering that McCain wanted to be Kerry’s running mate in ’04, we should have entertainment all around. Somehow I think that Biden wanting to be McCain’s running mate would play better than McCain wanting to be Kerry’s. But that’s just me.

  4. Anderson says:

    The pushback is obvious — McCain in 2004 wasn’t the hack he is now.

  5. spencer says:

    Biden on McCain: Biden’s opinion of his old friend John McCain has changed significantly–for the worse–during the course of this campaign.

    Biden called me in June to express his amazement that McCain continued to insist that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the leader of Iran, even after I pointed out–during a press conference–that the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei controlled Iran’s foreign policy and nuclear program. McCain’s response was that the “average American” thought Ahmadinejad was Iran’s leader…and Biden proceeded to jump all over that in a subsequent interview with Think Progress:

    I don’t want an average American as president…. [A]verage Americans don’t want an average American president of the United States of America. I want someone above average. I want someone who knows what they’re dealing with. And it surprises me that John didn’t understand the complexities of the power struggle going on in Iran right now.

    Biden told me that he was amazed and disappointed by the changes in McCain during the course of the campaign. “I just don’t recognize the guy anymore,” he said. “It’s a shame.” No doubt, Biden will have more to say on that subject now–which is one of the great advantages of picking him for vice president: according to the polls, foreign policy is McCain’s greatest strength. In reality, McCain has been captured by neoconservative extremists and is proposing an extremely dangerous course of action internationally. Biden has the stature and knowledge–and the blue-collar, no bull pugnacity–to call McCain on his imprudent militarism.

  6. Hal says:

    I got to say that I’m actually quite pleased with Biden as the choice. I’ve always admired him, thought he was very impressive on the talk show circuit and with the press in general. He’s a perfect attack dog who simply won’t back down. I think he makes a very good match in that he’ll allow Obama to keep above the fray while Biden lunges for the throat.

    I can only pray that McCain will Lieberman. Like Klein, I’d pay to see those two in a debate. Damn that’d be good.

  7. mike says:

    And he carries the state of Delaware – oh wait – Kaine or Warner would have been better – a lot of cross-over appeal.

  8. steve says:

    Watch this. It captures Joe Biden perfectly.

  9. Astara says:

    This isn’t much really, infact, he only said, “He thinks-which is not definite”.

    Plus he wanted to win himself, and this is the way of politics. I always knew Barack held Joe Biden in High Regard, and McCain turned his back on Kerry, for Bush, whom used Rove techniques on him.

    Joe Biden knows Barack has the right heart, intent, and executive skills needed for leadership. He has proved this time and again.

    Interesting to look back at McCain once said about Bush, and now see how he has flipped and embraced nearly all of Bush policies. McCain appears to be in early stages of “Alzheimers”, I’m a nurse, and recognize the signs.

    Bush the elder, actually ran “White House” in second Reagon term, while Reagon watched old “Leave it to Beaver” shows. McCain only a Neocon puppet.

    McCain, has allowed Washington to corrupt him.
    He isn’t the Maverick people once respected. McCain is cozy with Bush the Senior and was on his short list, back in 90’s. McCain still hangs out on Bush ranch, and discussions would be done in secret, same as its been with Bush.Same-0-stuff.

    Barack exercised good judgement, and picked a great Vice Presidential Candidate, and I know he’ll choose those who are well qualified for all positions. Unlike Bush who could only select “Yes-Men” Obama is self-confident and not intimated by having people equally as strong. However, he wants them to have a sense of honor, which Joseph Biden certainly has. It was excellent choice.


  10. capital L says:

    “McCain appears to be in early stages of “Alzheimers” [sic], I’m a nurse, and recognize the signs.”

    And I’m aware of all internet traditions.

    Seriously though, I think Joe Biden has hair plugs. I recognize the signs because I’m not only the president of the Hair club for men– I’m also a member.

    “Bush the elder, actually ran “White House” in second Reagon term, while Reagon watched old “Leave it to Beaver” shows. McCain only a Neocon puppet.”

    Now this is actually my favorite part of your ill-thought out comment, as your ability to form complete sentences breaks down. I think you might have “Alzheimer’s,” but I’m not as qualified as you to make diagnoses over the internet, so I’ll merely bid you goodnight.

  11. floyd says:

    I watched Biden for a while before I realized…
    Hey! that can’t be Walter, ’cause Jeff Dunham is nowhere to be seen![lol]