The Delaware senator told the Democratic National Convention he'd learned a lot about Obama by campaigning against him for his party's presidential nomination. Biden was an early dropout in that campaign, quitting after he managed only 1 percent of the vote in Iowa's opening caucuses.
Biden said that in debating Obama, watching him react under pressure, he learned about the strength of the Democratic presidential candidate's mind and his ability to touch and inspire people.
Story continues belowAdvertisement"And I realized he has tapped into the oldest American belief of all: We don't have to accept a situation we cannot bear. We have the power to change it," Biden said in excerpts of his prepared remarks. He was poised to receive his party's nomination for vice president Wednesday night.
"The choice in this election is clear," he said. "These times require more than a good soldier, they require a wise leader. A leader who can deliver ... the change everybody knows we need. Barack Obama will deliver that change."
Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that "our country is less secure and more isolated than at any time in recent history.
"The Bush-McCain foreign policy has dug us into a very deep hole with very few friends to help us climb out," Biden said.
On a timelined withdrawal from the war in Iraq, which McCain rejects, he was wrong and Obama was right, Biden said.
"After six long years, the Bush administration and the Iraqi government are on the verge of setting a date to bring our troops home," he said.
That issue must have special impact for Biden. He was presented to the convention by his son, Beau Biden, who said "other duties" would keep him from his father's side during the campaign. He did not mention that the other duty was to report for service in Iraq as a member of the Delaware National Guard.
So the younger Biden asked Democrats to be there for his father in the campaign. "Be there because Barack Obama and Joe Biden will deliver America the change we so desperately need," Beau Biden said.
In his speech, Sen. Biden stressed change and challenge.
"Millions of Americans have been knocked down, and this is the time as Americans, together, we get back up," he said.
Former President Clinton hailed Biden's nomination for vice president as he pledged his campaign backing to Obama in a convention speech. He said Obama "hit it out of the park" with the vice presidential selection he disclosed early Saturday.
"With Joe Biden's experience and wisdom supporting Barack Obama's proven understanding, insight and good instincts, America will have the national security leadership we need," Clinton said.
Biden, 65, was elected to the Senate in 1972; his first wife and his daughter were killed in an automobile accident while he was in Washington preparing to take office. Beau Biden, then nearly 4, and his brother were seriously injured in the crash. Initially, Biden said he would not take the Senate seat because he needed to be with his sons. Persuaded to do so, he was sworn in at their hospital bedside.
He married his wife, Jill, five years later.
Initial public opinion polling on the vice presidential choice showed little impact. A Gallup survey conducted Sunday through Tuesday showed Obama with 45 percent and McCain at 44 percent, a statistical tie, virtually unchanged from the numbers before Biden was named.
McCain has not said who is vice presidential pick is, but an announcement Friday is possible.
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