Obama's Biden Burden: Joe Tests Barack With Foreign Policy Comment

But do vice presidential gaffes really matter? Not so much.


Has anyone seen Joe Biden today? Last seen he was being bound and gagged by senior Obama campaign aides and whisked to a secure (from the press), undisclosed location.

In case you missed it (and no one within earshot of John McCain's presidential campaign has missed it), Biden committed the blunder of candidness while speaking about the challenges awaiting a newly inaugurated President Obama.

This will provide a good test of my theory regarding vice presidential candidates: They don't matter.

From ABC News:

"Mark my words," the Democratic vice presidential nominee warned at the second of his two Seattle fundraisers Sunday. "It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We're about to elect a brilliant 47-year-old senator president of the United States of America. Remember I said it standing here if you don't remember anything else I said. Watch, we're gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy." "I can give you at least four or five scenarios from where it might originate," Biden said to Emerald City supporters, mentioning the Middle East and Russia as possibilities. "And he's gonna need help. And the kind of help he's gonna need is, he's gonna need you—not financially to help him—we're gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him. Because it's not gonna be apparent initially, it's not gonna be apparent that we're right."

The McCain campaign jumped on the remarks, with one adviser arguing that Kennedy failed his initial test at a summit meeting with Nikita Khrushchev at Vienna. (It's "Return to Cold War Week" here in the McCain campaign: Yesterday's message was Barack Obama is a socialist. Today's message is Barack Obama won't be able to handle Khrushchev at Vienna .)

Of course, Biden's remarks in and of themselves are not revolutionary—it seems fair to say that Obama will face, well, a bunch of tests. And a lot of people (including, for example, Colin Powell) think that he's better suited to address them than John McCain. (Biden's comments are not, as Marc Ambinder notes, a suggestion that McCain would be better.)

But they also provide ammunition for the McCain campaign. Which brings us back to the fundamental question: Does anyone care? Will anyone switch their vote because the vice presidential candidate made an impolitic remark?

Not bloody likely.