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Biden must deliver for Team Obama

By Roland Martin, CNN Contributor
updated 2:33 PM EDT, Thu October 11, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Roland Martin suspects that Joe Biden relishes idea of being key to Obama turnaround
  • He says the president's campaign needs a strong Biden performance to boost perceptions
  • Martin says Biden is likely to do better than Obama because he's a natural politician
  • He expects Biden to be folksy, contrasting with Ryan's wonky approach to politics

Editor's note: Roland Martin is a syndicated columnist and author of "The First: President Barack Obama's Road to the White House." He is a commentator for the TV One cable network and host/managing editor of its Sunday morning news show, "Washington Watch with Roland Martin."

(CNN) -- Don't think Vice President Joe Biden isn't secretly relishing the idea of having to deliver a knockout performance in Thursday's debate in order to right the sails of President Barack Obama's 2012 re-election bid.

He has been lampooned as being an embarrassment -- some Democrats, like former Virginia Gov. Doug Wilder, have openly stated he should be replaced on the ticket by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- and his 36 years as a U.S. senator are often overlooked and marginalized.

See the VP debate
CNN will offer unrestricted access to Thursday's vice presidential debate coverage starting at 7 p.m. ET on CNN TV, CNN.com and via CNN's apps for iPhone, iPad and Android. Web users can become video editors with a new clip-and-share feature that allows them to share favorite debate moments on Facebook and Twitter.

The old political adage that a VP pick can only hurt and not help the top of the ticket is wrong. In this case, a strong debate performance by Biden will be welcomed with open arms in Chicago and the White House.

Politics: How Biden is prepping for the debate

One of the reasons why we can expect Biden to be far more effective debating than Obama was is because Biden is a much better politician than President Obama is. He doesn't just tolerate the rope line at campaign stops; he eats it up. Obama despises the incessant schmoozing and back-slapping in politics; Biden is energized by it. Whereas Obama is cool as the other side of the pillow, Biden is always fired up and ready to go.

7 questions you would ask at the VP debate

Roland Martin
Roland Martin

If there ever was any time President Obama needs his vice president to "be the man," now is the time.

And Biden loves the fact that the president must depend on him.

It's abundantly clear that President Obama stunk up the joint in the first debate against Mitt Romney. He was listless, lackluster and afraid to go on the attack and pin Romney down on specifics and to call out lies.

What to expect in the Biden-Ryan debate
Pressure on Biden and Ryan in debate

Rep. Paul Ryan, don't think for a second Biden will be as conciliatory and forgiving.

Both men will be aggressive and pointed in their criticism of each other.

Opinion: Why Ryan has the edge in debate

Most folks don't realize that Biden has been an instrumental player in the Obama White House. He has a strong foreign policy background -- he was the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when a young upstart from Illinois joined -- and took the White House lead in deficit negotiations with Congress.

When Ryan goes in on the Obama team for the deficit, Biden will be able to say he was the one sitting across the table trying to negotiate with House Speaker John Boehner and his troops.

But expect Biden not to sound like a four-decade Washington insider. He will drop plenty of mentions of growing up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, as well as use more personal stories about the campaign trail than Obama does.

Expect a folksy Biden to a wonky Ryan.

Politics: Five things to watch in vice presidential debate

Team Obama desperately needs the narrative changed. The polls show Romney got a huge bounce from his debate performance, and the last thing the Obama camp needs is another few days of bad press.

Joe Biden could very well be the right guy at the right time to right a leaky Obama ship.

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The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Roland Martin.

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