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Robert S. McElvaine Headshot

"Barack America!"

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A slip of the tongue by Joe Biden as he spoke at his introduction as Barack Obama's running mate in Springfield, Illinois, this afternoon may prove to be the key to the election--and to what Sen. Biden brings to the ticket.

When Biden referred to Sen. Obama, he called him "Barack America."

Desperate Republicans and Faux News are trying to turn this slip to their advantage, mocking Obama as "Captain America."

In fact, the slip reflects what Obama represents: America as It Can Be, a "Yes, We Can!" America -- what has always been the Promise of America -- that we are all created free and equal; that everyone has the same chance; that there's nothing we cannot accomplish if we work hard and work together.

Barack Obama represents a renewal of the best of American values at the same time that he represents the American future.

The only way that John McCain can win is to succeed at what he has been doing: raising fears about Obama not being quite "American" enough.

And Joe Biden is one who will help greatly in knocking down that sort of politics of smear and fear. He will help to show that the Democratic presidential nominee is, indeed, Barack America, a man with the Vision to oppose Republican Division

"Who is this guy?" many voters have been worrying. Today Joe Biden told them who he is: Barack America."

Historian Robert S. McElvaine is Elizabeth Chisholm Professor of Arts & Letters at Millsaps College. His latest book is Grand Theft Jesus: The Hijacking of Religion in America.