Opinion: Joe Biden got the VP call Thursday night (and never spilled the beans)

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DENVER -- Barack Obama’s actual VP offer to Joe Biden came in a telephone call Thursday night, according to Linda Douglass, the former-newswoman-turned-campaign-aide for the (almost) official Democratic presidential nominee.

Douglass, chatting with reporters on Obama’s campaign plane shortly before its arrival in Springfield, Ill., for the big photo-op pairing of the new ticket -- unfortunately provided no other tidbits, The Times’ Michael Finnegan relates.

“We’re not going to get bogged down in the process of the selection,” she said, leaving us to wonder, at least for now, how quickly Biden said yes or whether -- indulging himself -- the sometimes off-message Biden said asked something like. ‘What took you so long, young man?’


Speaking of off-message, the various branches of the Republican campaign apparatus have been anything but in responding to Biden’s selection.

As The Ticket noted this morning, John McCain’s media shop almost instantly unveiled an ad featuring a soundbite Biden provided last year, during the heat of the battle for the Democratic presidential nod, that scoffs at Obama’s foreign policy credentials.

Today, Alex Conant of the Republican National Committee sent off one of his patented sharp-edged e-mails headlined thusly: ‘OBAMA’S OFF-MESSAGE MAN ... Is Obama Ready To Be President? Biden Says No.’

The lengthy (and we do mean lengthy) memo includes sections (complete with citations) on differences between Obama and Biden on foreign policy, on regulating lobbyists and on ‘post-partisan politics’ (not exactly a red-meat issue). For good measure, it adds they are ‘on message’ when it comes to being ‘against energy solutions and for higher taxes.’

Now comes a fundraising pitch from the McCain campaign asserting that Obama’s ‘choice in a running mate once again brings up his questionable judgment when faced with making major decisions.’ The reason: he picked someone who, through the prism ‘doesn’t believe that Senator Obama is ready to serve as president.’

Folks who agree are asked to ‘make an immediate donation of $25, $50, $150, $250, $500, $1,000 or even $2,300' to the McCain camp (the latter amount is the maximum allowed by law).

Not to be found in any of the GOP missives is any reference to Biden’s status as one of the least affluent denizens of Capitol Hill. But that’s getting a fair amount of attention elsewhere, including an item by Steve Clemons on Huffington Post with this headline: ‘Joe Biden Won’t Forget the Number of Houses He Owns.’

On top of the flap over McCain’s real estate holdings, some pundits are wondering whether the Biden pick might decrease the chances of the super-wealthy Mitt Romney getting the VP call from McCain.

-- Don Frederick

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