Politics

09.06.12

Joe Biden Getting Short Shrift at Democratic Convention

He’s been given a lesser spot in the lineup. The networks are barely covering him. And the GOP is in his face. Michelle Cottle on the veep’s bumpy convention.

Talk about a finger in the eye. It’s bad enough that Vice President Joe Biden isn’t getting his own night to shine at the convention. It’s worse still that he’s speaking so early tonight that only one of the big three networks is scheduled to carry the address.

Now, like a cherry on the top of the cow pie, Team Romney has issued a press release wholly devoted to mocking Biden’s absence from the convention’s vaunted 10 o’clock hour.

Large type, all-caps headline: “FOUR YEARS LATER, BIDEN’S NOT BETTER OFF.” With the gleeful subhead: “After Years of Controversial Comments And Gaffes, Vice President Biden Gets Bumped From Prime Time.”

The rest of the release consists of links to media stories about Biden’s tendency to go off script as well as a list of the many speakers that the Obama campaign did think were “important enough” to give a key slot.

That has got to sting.

The Obama campaign disputes that they are in any way cutting Joe out of the process. In response to an inquiry about the marginalization of Joe, a campaign official responded oh so officially: “As the president’s partner and one of the administration’s top champions of the middle class, the vice president will help drive home the message of the convention—that there is one team who is working to create an economy that’s built to last and give voice to the millions of hard-working Americans who are working to move our nation forward together and we are re-nominating them here in Charlotte: Vice President Biden and President Barack Obama.”

Alrighty. But wouldn’t Joe’s enduring role as ambassador to the lunch-pail crowd seem to argue for giving him a higher rather than lower profile?

To be fair, Biden has proved he can stay on message when the stakes are high enough. He didn’t exactly go gonzo during his speech in 2008.

Then again, Bill Clinton wasn’t rocking the house last time around either.

As one campaign insider observes, Elvis was obviously going to “trump all” this time. “He was always going to rule Wednesday night. As he did.”

Besides, the insider joked, word was that Biden wanted to watch the Giants game Wednesday night. The decision to slot the veep in early Thursday evening “was made jointly” by Biden and Obama.

Since Joe was unavoidably stuck with sharing his special night with one president or the other, probably better to share the moment with Obama rather than get blown away by Clinton.

At least this way someone might actually remember that he spoke.

Video screenshot

Joe Biden at the DNC.