Huffpost Politics
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Jerry Weissman Headshot

Beware Biden's Bombast

Posted: Updated:

Barack Obama's choice of Joseph Biden as his Vice-Presidential running mate has already run into criticism about conflicting messages. Many MSM writers and Web bloggers have commented on the subject, but Tom Bevan on realclearpolitics.com put it best: "Going with Biden highlights the horns of the dilemma for Senator Obama. He wanted someone who could reinforce his message of change, but he needed someone with experience...so he was forced into sacrificing one at the expense of the other."

There is also another potential conflict in the Biden choice: how the delivers the team's messages. Joe Biden has developed a reputation for making lengthy speeches. Comedian Andy Borowitz, who posts his satirical blasts here on Huffington, wrote "Minutes after he was chosen as Barack Obama's vice-presidential pick, Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del) revealed that he has begun writing a 50,000-word acceptance speech ...The address, which Mr. Biden has been working on around the clock, is an abridged version of a 200,000-word acceptance speech that Mr. Biden wrote when he ran for President in 1988."

Joe Biden is well aware of his reputation. Last April, when he was still in the race for the Democratic nomination, he participated in a debate among 8 candidates in Orangeburg, South Carolina. The moderator, NBC's Brian Williams, turned to Biden and said, "An editorial in The Los Angles Times said, 'In addition to his uncontrolled verbosity, Biden is a gaffe machine.' Can you reassure voters in this country that you would have the discipline you would need on the world stage, Senator?"

Biden relished the moment, smiled and then said, "Yes."

It will take more than a smile and a one-word answer to deal with verbosity because it is in direct conflict with Obama's media-savvy, Web-focused campaign which demands terseness. To reach the enormous bloc of younger voters directly and quickly, Obama's organization has developed an intensive text-messaging push. As part of that push, they made a special offer to people who signed on to an email blast to receive an early announcement of Obama's vice-presidential choice via text-message. According to The Wall Street Journal, the tactic "represented an opportunity to significantly boost the campaign's database of cellphone numbers, especially among the young people Sen. Obama is trying to court. Almost two-thirds of people between the ages of 18 and 28 said they send or receive text messages monthly."

In today's The New York Times, David Carr concurs: "The children's crusade of early Obama supporters will soon occupy the sweet spot of electoral politics and bring a new set of expectations to being courted and served."

If Joe Biden wants to court them, he has to start thinking and speaking in sound bites of text-message length.

Register To Vote