POLITICS
10/24/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Biden: McCain's Economic Philosophy As Broke As Lehman Brothers

Today vice presidential candidate Joseph Biden decried the McCain campaign for running a "successful smear campaign" against Barack Obama, and ridiculed the Republican nominee of having an economic policy "as bankrupt as Lehman Brothers."

Speaking at the National Jewish Democratic Council conference at the Hilton in Washington D.C., Biden asserted that Obama was a strong and committed supporter of Israel, something which the Illinois Democrat's conservative critics question.

"I promise you, i guarantee you," he told the crowd, "I would not join Barack Obama's ticket as vice president if I had any doubt, even the slightest doubt, whatsoever, that he shares the same commitment to Israel that I share."

Much of the address, however, was spent not on Middle East affairs but the Republican opposition. Ridiculing McCain for first saying the fundamentals of the economy are strong before adopting a populist mantra on the current financial market crisis, Biden told the predominantly Jewish crowd: "We Catholics call that an epiphany."

"The problem," he added, "was it was only a political epiphany; it was not a substantive change in policy... if John actually realized what was going on and felt in his gut what he articulated in his voice, he would have to admit that the economic policy that he and George Bush espouse... is as bankrupt as Lehman Brothers."

The crowd, numbering in the several hundreds, laughed in approval. Biden's appeal in the Jewish community is strong and will likely aide Obama among that constituency. The Senator addressed what has been a major problem for Obama among Jewish voters: namely, a rumor campaign that alleges that the Illinois Democrat is disposed towards the Palestinian side of the Middle East conflict, has Muslim roots, and would endanger Israel's security through meetings with Iran.

"[The Republicans] have run a pretty successful smear campaign," said Biden. "That is what these guys have been running."

Drifting from his stump speech, in which he paints McCain as a clone of George Bush, Biden delighted the crowd with a old Jewish tale.

"This is an election that kind of reminds me of that story," he said, "how every year the Yeshiva crew team would row against Harvard and get creamed year in and year out. So after a really tough loss the coach of Yeshiva told his captain: 'Why don't you guy spy on Harvard.'... So the captain of Yeshiva's team went, hid in the bushes along the river, and after a few minutes of watching figured it out. So he took his cell phone and called his coaches and said: 'Coach, I got it, I got it.' He said, 'The secret is they've got eight guys rowing and only one yelling.... That's what we need to be doing this election here. Ignore all the malarkey, ignore all the distractions, ignore all the emails and get behind Barack Obama straight up."