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May 18th, 2012
10:25 AM ET

Letters to the President #1215: 'Biden time'

Reporter's Note: I’m writing to President Obama again. I’ve had lots of practice.

Dear Mr. President,

I’ve been watching some of the bulldogging that Joe Biden is doing for you, and I must say he could well turn out to be one of your most important weapons. You and I both know that as much as you can turn a great speech, your vice president has an excellent way with those blue collar Democrats who find you a little elitist for their tastes.

Oh, don’t get upset. You know it’s true. The very same lofty tones that make your speeches soar through stadiums and get the crowds rocking, kind of get in your way when you’re in a diner, or at a school, or…heaven forbid…in a bowling alley. Ha! And you thought we’d forgotten that!

But back to Mr. Biden. I realize that he may seem a bit of a loose cannon for your team. And sure, he goes shooting off his mouth about things like the economy, and joblessness, and gay marriage, and sometimes that leaves you scrambling for explanations. Trust me, it’s worth it. That tendency he has to just blurt things out may cause some problems, but more often I think it reassures voters. People out here, I think, crave straight talk from Washington, and they get precious little. They get talking points, and prepared statements, and fake debates; but they rarely hear a politician just cut lose and say what he thinks.

Now, maybe Biden is just faking it well. Maybe everything he says is just as calculated as any other political pronouncement. But it doesn’t seem that way. He sounds, much of the time, like a kind of old-fashioned guy who just lays out what he thinks and let the chips fall where they may. And I think a lot of voters like that.

I’m not saying they always agree with him, because I’m sure many of them do not. I’m certain some think he is a terrible leader and dread the idea of him becoming President should you leave office for some unforeseen reason. But I suspect even a lot of folks who don’t like his politics, really do like his candor. That’s why some of those working class folks may listen to him…who won’t listen to you. And that could mean votes for your team that you otherwise might not be able to snag.

So as uneasy as things may get from time to time, to paraphrase the GOP, you should probably “let Biden be Biden,” for all the good and bad that will bring your way.

Call if you have a moment.

Regards,
Tom

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