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Presumptious, huh? Indulge me for a moment. Let's face it, Obama and Biden are running a terrific campaign, and seem to have made all the moves at the right time -- a credit to both of them and to their advisors. But at some point in the VP debate, there will either be a direct question, or an overt invitation to address the question of qualification for office. Because the issue is so obvious, as well as fraught with danger, we know that Biden will have given a lot of thought to his answer.  But I sure would like to see something like the following:


You know, we've gotten spoiled in the last 25 years or so with the notion that the job of the vice president is to be heavily involved in helping the president carry out his agenda for america. This is really a very modern idea. Many americans will remember a time when the whole idea that two candidates for the vice presidency would be debating each other -- and anyone would care -- would be laughable.

But that is not the outlook that we have today. And make no mistake, my goal for the next four years, if we are elected, will be to help Barack Obama, in any way he asks me, to bring about the change that he has described, and which all americans seem to want. He knows that I am committed to that, and I think he chose me, in large measure, because my experience in the United States Senate demonstrates that commitment.

But there is a much more important point here, that demonstrates Senator Obama's own qualifications for high office. Let's face it, the only reason the Constitution has an office of Vice President is to provide for an immediate and orderly succession of leadership in this country in the event that something should happen to the President. The framers of our constitution were brilliant people, and history has demonstrated just how much foresight they had. That history shows that the sudden and unexpected loss of a President in office is a potential crisis. It can be a time of great uncertainty -- a time of fear for the american people and for our allies around the world, and a time that can be exploited by our enemies. Or, it can be a time when the american people are reassured, our allies confident that american leadership will go forward on the same path, and a time when our enemies know how any provocation on their part will be met.

This is the real decision that a presidential candidate faces when deciding on his or her running mate. And when we talk about qualifications and judgment, I think its important to point out that this ability to look at a problem or question -- to see what it is that is really important about that decision -- and to set aside advantages or gains that are fleeting or temporary -- is the essence of leadership. And it is that kind of leadership that qualifies anyone for the highest office in this land.

I don't pretend to be the best choice that Barack Obama could have made. But the american people know my record, and our allies and enemies abroad are familiar with it, as well. God forbid that anything should happen to a President Obama -- but if it did, I am confident that his choice of me, and the trust in that choice voiced by the american voters in an election, would be vindicated.  

I think this answer would immediately remind the voters that the quesion is McCain or Obama, and that the deciding factor ought to be judgment. But it would also allow Joe to make the case for what distinguishes him from Palin without having to mount any attack on her credentials as 'Mayor Mommy.'  

But if you don't think that one is strong enough, perhaps you'll like this one:

When I consider Governor Palin's qualifications for office, I see a candidate whose stature finally approaches the dizzying heights only wildly imagined by the late Vice President and Speaker of the House, John Nance Garner of Texas, when he stated that the office of the Vice President was "not worth a warm bucket of spit [sic]."

Originally posted to zashvil on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 02:09 PM PDT.

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