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Obama chooses Biden

world Updated: Aug 23, 2008 23:36 IST
V Krishna
V Krishna
Hindustan Times
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The text message making it official began landing at 3 am on Saturday. The TV networks and the websites had by then ruled out Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana and Governor Tim Kaine of Virginia. The SMS made it clear it wouldn’t be low-profile Congressman Chet Edwards of Texas or Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius or Hillary Clinton.

“Barack has chosen Senator Joe Biden to be our VP nominee,” it said. “Spread the word!”

The suspense had ended.

The choice of Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and onetime presidential hopeful, is an attempt to address what is perceived as a big weakness of Democratic candidate Barack Obama — a lack of foreign policy experience. Biden was first elected to the Senate in 1972.

“Who among us is going to be able on day one to step in an end the war? Who among us understands what to do about Pakistan? Who among us is going to pick up the phone and immediately interface with Putin and tell him to lay off Georgia because Saakashvili is in real trouble.... I have 35 years of experience,” Biden said in a debate during the Democratic primaries. Even the Republicans would be hard put to challenge his claim.

Biden has long argued that India should be treated ‘’as they are — a great nation.’’

While Biden’s state, Delaware, is not important electorally, he is a Catholic and is expected to help the Democratic ticket in the key states of Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Biden can slug it out with opponents, something the Democrats have been pressing Obama to do.

Obama will also be accused of plumping for a Washington insider while billing himself as an outsider.