What ya know, Joe?

Trot­ting out to his first for­ay on the nation­al stage, Sen­a­tor Joe Biden made a good impres­sion. He’s white, he’s got gray hair, he does look like those guys on the mon­ey, and he’s from Delaware — a con­ti­nent and an ocean away from Oba­ma’s Hawaii birth­place, form­ing a con­nec­tion across the coun­try that implies inclu­siv­i­ty. I think he did a fine job, and here is the tran­script of his accep­tance speech.

It is an hon­or to share this stage tonight with Pres­i­dent Clin­ton. And last night, it was mov­ing to watch Hillary, one of the great lead­ers of our par­ty, a woman who has made his­to­ry and will con­tin­ue to make his­to­ry: my col­league and my friend, Sen. Hillary Clin­ton.

And I am hon­ored to rep­re­sent our first state — my state— Delaware.

Since I’ve nev­er been called a man of few words, let me say this as sim­ply as I can: Yes. Yes, I accept your nom­i­na­tion to run and serve along­side our next pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca, Barack Oba­ma.

Let me make this pledge to you right here and now. For every Amer­i­can who is try­ing to do the right thing, for all those peo­ple in gov­ern­ment who are hon­or­ing their pledge to uphold the law and respect our Con­sti­tu­tion, no longer will the eight most dread­ed words in the Eng­lish lan­guage be: “The vice pres­i­den­t’s office is on the phone.”

Barack Oba­ma and I took very dif­fer­ent jour­neys to this des­ti­na­tion, but we share a com­mon sto­ry. Mine began in Scran­ton, Penn­syl­va­nia, and then Wilm­ing­ton, Delaware. With a dad who fell on hard eco­nom­ic times, but who always told me: “Champ, when you get knocked down, get up. Get up.”

I wish that my dad was here tonight, but I am so grate­ful that my mom, Cather­ine Euge­nia Finnegan Biden, is here. You know, she taught her chil­dren — all the chil­dren who flocked to our house — that you are defined by your sense of hon­or, and you are redeemed by your loy­al­ty. She believes brav­ery lives in every heart, and her expec­ta­tion is that it will be sum­moned.

Fail­ure at some point in every­one’s life is inevitable, but giv­ing up is unfor­giv­able. As a child I stut­tered, and she lov­ing­ly told me it was because I was so bright I could­n’t get the thoughts out quick­ly enough. When I was not as well-dressed as oth­ers, she told me how hand­some she thought I was. When I got knocked down by guys big­ger than me, she sent me back out and demand­ed that I bloody their nose so I could walk down that street the next day.

After the acci­dent, she told me, “Joey, God sends no cross you can­not bear.” And when I tri­umphed, she was quick to remind me it was because of oth­ers.

My moth­er’s creed is the Amer­i­can creed: No one is bet­ter than you. You are every­one’s equal, and every­one is equal to you.

My par­ents taught us to live our faith, and trea­sure our fam­i­ly. We learned the dig­ni­ty of work, and we were told that any­one can make it if they try.

That was Amer­i­ca’s promise. For those of us who grew up in mid­dle-class neigh­bor­hoods like Scran­ton and Wilm­ing­ton, that was the Amer­i­can dream and we knew it.

But today that Amer­i­can dream feels as if it’s slow­ly slip­ping away. I don’t need to tell you that. You feel it every sin­gle day in your own lives.

I’ve nev­er seen a time when Wash­ing­ton has watched so many peo­ple get knocked down with­out doing any­thing to help them get back up. Almost every night, I take the train home to Wilm­ing­ton, some­times very late. As I look out the win­dow at the homes we pass, I can almost hear what they’re talk­ing about at the kitchen table after they put the kids to bed.

Like mil­lions of Amer­i­cans, they’re ask­ing ques­tions as pro­found as they are ordi­nary. Ques­tions they nev­er thought they would have to ask:

Should Mom move in with us now that Dad is gone?

Fifty, 60, 70 dol­lars to fill up the car?

Win­ter’s com­ing. How we gonna pay the heat­ing bills?

Anoth­er year and no raise?

Did you hear the com­pa­ny may be cut­ting our health care?

Now, we owe more on the house than it’s worth. How are we going to send the kids to col­lege?

How are we gonna be able to retire?

That’s the Amer­i­ca that George Bush has left us, and that’s the future John McCain will give us. These are not iso­lat­ed dis­cus­sions among fam­i­lies down on their luck. These are com­mon sto­ries among mid­dle-class peo­ple who worked hard and played by the rules on the promise that their tomor­rows would be bet­ter than their yes­ter­days.

That promise is the bedrock of Amer­i­ca. It defines who we are as a peo­ple. And now it’s in jeop­ardy. I know it. You know it. But John McCain does­n’t get it.

Barack Oba­ma gets it. Like many of us, Barack worked his way up. His is a great Amer­i­can sto­ry.

You know, I believe the mea­sure of a man isn’t just the road he’s trav­eled; it’s the choic­es he’s made along the way. Barack Oba­ma could have done any­thing after he grad­u­at­ed from col­lege. With all his tal­ent and promise, he could have writ­ten his tick­et to Wall Street. But that’s not what he chose to do. He chose to go to Chica­go. The South Side. There he met men and women who had lost their jobs. Their neigh­bor­hood was dev­as­tat­ed when the local steel plant closed. Their dreams deferred. Their dig­ni­ty shat­tered. Their self-esteem gone.

And he made their lives the work of his life. That’s what you do when you’ve been raised by a sin­gle mom, who worked, went to school and raised two kids on her own. That’s how you come to believe, to the very core of your being, that work is more than a pay­check. It’s dig­ni­ty. It’s respect. It’s about whether you can look your chil­dren in the eye and say: We’re going to be OK.

Because Barack made that choice, 150,000 more chil­dren and par­ents have health care in Illi­nois. He fought to make that hap­pen. And because Barack made that choice, work­ing fam­i­lies in Illi­nois pay less tax­es, and more peo­ple have moved from wel­fare to the dig­ni­ty of work. He got it done.

And when he came to Wash­ing­ton, I watched him hit the ground run­ning, lead­ing the fight to pass the most sweep­ing ethics reform in a gen­er­a­tion. He reached across par­ty lines to pass a law that helps keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of ter­ror­ists. And he moved Con­gress and the pres­i­dent to give our wound­ed vet­er­ans the care and dig­ni­ty they deserve.

You can learn an awful lot about a man cam­paign­ing with him, debat­ing him and see­ing how he reacts under pres­sure. You learn about the strength of his mind, but even more impor­tant­ly, you learn about the qual­i­ty of his heart.

I watched how he touched peo­ple, how he inspired them, and I real­ized he has tapped into the old­est Amer­i­can belief of all: We don’t have to accept a sit­u­a­tion we can­not bear.

We have the pow­er to change it. That’s Barack Oba­ma, and that’s what he will do for this coun­try. He’ll change it.

John McCain is my friend. We’ve known each oth­er for three decades. We’ve trav­eled the world togeth­er. It’s a friend­ship that goes beyond pol­i­tics. And the per­son­al courage and hero­ism John demon­strat­ed still amaze me.

But I pro­found­ly dis­agree with the direc­tion that John wants to take the coun­try. For exam­ple,

John thinks that dur­ing the Bush years “we’ve made great progress eco­nom­i­cal­ly.” I think it’s been abysmal.

And in the Sen­ate, John sided with Pres­i­dent Bush 95 per­cent of the time. Give me a break. When John McCain pro­pos­es $200 bil­lion in new tax breaks for cor­po­rate Amer­i­ca, $1 bil­lion alone for just eight of the largest com­pa­nies, but no relief for 100 mil­lion Amer­i­can fam­i­lies, that’s not change; that’s more of the same.

Even today, as oil com­pa­nies post the biggest prof­its in his­to­ry — a half-tril­lion dol­lars in the last five years — he wants to give them anoth­er $4 bil­lion in tax breaks. But he vot­ed time and again against incen­tives for renew­able ener­gy: solar, wind, bio­fu­els. That’s not change; that’s more of the same.

Mil­lions of jobs have left our shores, yet John con­tin­ues to sup­port tax breaks for cor­po­ra­tions that send them there. That’s not change; that’s more of the same.

He vot­ed 19 times against rais­ing the min­i­mum wage. For peo­ple who are strug­gling just to get to the next day, that’s not change; that’s more of the same.

And when he says he will con­tin­ue to spend $10 bil­lion a month in Iraq when Iraq is sit­ting on a sur­plus of near­ly $80 bil­lion, that’s not change; that’s more of the same.

The choice in this elec­tion is clear. These times require more than a good sol­dier; they require a wise leader, a leader who can deliv­er change — the change every­body knows we need.

Barack Oba­ma will deliv­er that change. Barack Oba­ma will reform our tax code. He’ll cut tax­es for 95 per­cent of the Amer­i­can peo­ple who draw a pay­check. That’s the change we need.

Barack Oba­ma will trans­form our econ­o­my by mak­ing alter­na­tive ener­gy a gen­uine nation­al pri­or­i­ty, cre­at­ing 5 mil­lion new jobs and final­ly free­ing us from the grip of for­eign oil. That’s the change we need.

Barack Oba­ma knows that any coun­try that out-teach­es us today will out-com­pete us tomor­row. He’ll invest in the next gen­er­a­tion of teach­ers. He’ll make col­lege more afford­able. That’s the change we need.

Barack Oba­ma will bring down health care costs by $2,500 for the typ­i­cal fam­i­ly, and, at long last, deliv­er afford­able, acces­si­ble health care for all Amer­i­cans. That’s the change we need.

Barack Oba­ma will put more cops on the streets, put the “secu­ri­ty” back in Social Secu­ri­ty and nev­er give up until we achieve equal pay for women. That’s the change we need.

As we gath­er here tonight, our coun­try is less secure and more iso­lat­ed than at any time in recent his­to­ry. The Bush-McCain for­eign pol­i­cy has dug us into a very deep hole with very few friends to help us climb out. For the last sev­en years, this admin­is­tra­tion has failed to face the biggest forces shap­ing this cen­tu­ry: the emer­gence of Rus­sia, Chi­na and India as great pow­ers; the spread of lethal weapons; the short­age of secure sup­plies of ener­gy, food and water; the chal­lenge of cli­mate change; and the resur­gence of fun­da­men­tal­ism in Afghanistan and Pak­istan, the real cen­tral front against ter­ror­ism.

In recent days, we’ve once again seen the con­se­quences of this neglect with Rus­si­a’s chal­lenge to the free and demo­c­ra­t­ic coun­try of Geor­gia. Barack Oba­ma and I will end this neglect. We will hold Rus­sia account­able for its actions, and we’ll help the peo­ple of Geor­gia rebuild.

I’ve been on the ground in Geor­gia, Iraq, Pak­istan and Afghanistan, and I can tell you in no uncer­tain terms: this admin­is­tra­tion’s pol­i­cy has been an abject fail­ure. Amer­i­ca can­not afford four more years of this.

Now, despite being com­plic­it in this cat­a­stroph­ic for­eign pol­i­cy, John McCain says Barack Oba­ma isn’t ready to pro­tect our nation­al secu­ri­ty. Now, let me ask you: Whose judg­ment should we trust? Should we trust John McCain’s judg­ment when he said only three years ago, “Afghanistan — we don’t read about it any­more because it’s suc­ceed­ed”? Or should we trust Barack Oba­ma, who more than a year ago called for send­ing two addi­tion­al com­bat brigades to Afghanistan?

The fact is, al-Qai­da and the Tal­iban — the peo­ple who actu­al­ly attacked us on 911 — have regrouped in those moun­tains between Afghanistan and Pak­istan and are plot­ting new attacks. And the chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff echoed Barack­’s call for more troops.

John McCain was wrong. Barack Oba­ma was right.

Should we trust John McCain’s judg­ment when he reject­ed talk­ing with Iran and then asked: What is there to talk about? Or Barack Oba­ma, who said we must talk and make it clear to Iran that its con­duct must change.

Now, after sev­en years of denial, even the Bush admin­is­tra­tion rec­og­nizes that we should talk to Iran, because that’s the best way to advance our secu­ri­ty.

Again, John McCain was wrong. Barack Oba­ma was right.

Should we trust John McCain’s judg­ment when he says there can be no time­lines to draw down our troops from Iraq — that we must stay indef­i­nite­ly? Or should we lis­ten to Barack Oba­ma, who says shift respon­si­bil­i­ty to the Iraqis and set a time to bring our com­bat troops home?

Now, after six long years, the Bush admin­is­tra­tion and the Iraqi gov­ern­ment are on the verge of set­ting a date to bring our troops home.

John McCain was wrong. Barack Oba­ma was right.

Again and again, on the most impor­tant nation­al secu­ri­ty issues of our time, John McCain was wrong, and Barack Oba­ma was proven right.

Folks, remem­ber when the world used to trust us? When they looked to us for lead­er­ship? With Barack Oba­ma as our pres­i­dent, they’ll look to us again, they’ll trust us again, and we’ll be able to lead again.

Jill and I are tru­ly hon­ored to join Barack and Michelle on this jour­ney. When I look at their young chil­dren — and when I look at my grand­chil­dren — I real­ize why I’m here. I’m here for their future.

And I am here for every­one I grew up with in Scran­ton and Wilm­ing­ton. I am here for the cops and fire­fight­ers, the teach­ers and assem­bly-line work­ers — the folks whose lives are the very mea­sure of whether the Amer­i­can dream endures.

Our great­est pres­i­dents — from Abra­ham Lin­coln to Franklin Roo­sevelt to John Kennedy — they all chal­lenged us to embrace change. Now, it’s our respon­si­bil­i­ty to meet that chal­lenge.

Mil­lions of Amer­i­cans have been knocked down. And this is the time as Amer­i­cans, togeth­er, we get back up. Our peo­ple are too good, our debt to our par­ents and grand­par­ents too great, our oblig­a­tion to our chil­dren is too sacred.

These are extra­or­di­nary times. This is an extra­or­di­nary elec­tion. The Amer­i­can peo­ple are ready. I’m ready. Barack Oba­ma is ready. This is his time. This is our time. This is Amer­i­ca’s time.

May God bless Amer­i­ca and pro­tect our troops.

Being the No. 2 gives him the leash to be a lit­tle edgi­er, and he dis­plays that with some harsh­er rhetoric. One aspect I’d like to see clar­i­fied is “We will hold Rus­sia account­able for its actions, and we’ll help the peo­ple of Geor­gia rebuild.” What does that mean? For some­one with such a foriegn pol­i­cy track record, that feels pret­ty open-end­ed to be effec­tive.

I still don’t have TV… any­body want to host a speech watch­ing par­ty?

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