Muckraker: Grist on Politics

“We literally can’t afford four more years of this non-energy policy, relying on hostile foreign countries … literally putting America’s security at risk,” said Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, in his first speaking engagement as Barack Obama’s vice-presidential candidate today in Springfield, Ill.

“Barack Obama and I believe — we believe with every fiber of our being — that there is not a single solitary challenge that we cannot solve if we level with the American people,” said Biden, who has before listed energy security as the country’s greatest challenge.

Biden emphasized his blue-collar roots in Scranton, Pa., identifying with the economic struggles of average Americans. “Your kitchen table is like mine … after you put the kids to bed, you sit at the table and talk about what you need. You worry about how to pay the bills,” said Biden. And in the off-the-cuff style Biden is known for, he followed with a one-liner poking fun at GOP presidential candidate John McCain’s recent housing flap: “He’ll have to figure out which of his seven tables to sit at.”

In introducing his newly minted ticket mate, Obama touted Biden’s work on energy issues.

“After decades of steady work across the aisle, I know he’ll be able to help me turn the page on the ugly partisanship in Washington, so we can bring Democrats and Republicans together to pass an agenda that works for the American people,” said Obama. “And instead of secret energy task forces stacked with Big Oil and a vice president that twists the facts and shuts the American people out, I know that Joe Biden will give us some real straight talk.”

Obama also noted Biden’s middle-class credentials, and his daily Amtrak trips from Delaware to D.C.

“That’s because he is still that scrappy kid from Scranton who beat the odds; the dedicated family man and committed Catholic who knows every conductor on that Amtrak train to Wilmington. That’s the kind of fighter who I want by my side in the months and years to come,” he continued. “That’s what it’s going to take to forge a new energy policy that frees us from our dependence on foreign oil and $4 gasoline at the pump, while creating new jobs and new industry.”