Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on
 

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.

Follow @CNNOpinion on Twitter

Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion

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

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 12:26 PM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
The death of Douglas McAuthur McCain, the first American killed fighting for ISIS, highlights the pull of Syria's war for Western jihadists, writes Peter Bergen.
updated 6:42 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Former ambassador to Syria Robert Ford says the West should be helping moderates in the Syrian armed opposition end the al-Assad regime and form a government to focus on driving ISIS out
updated 9:21 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says a great country does not deport thousands of vulnerable, unaccompanied minors who fled in fear for their lives
updated 9:19 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Robert McIntyre says Congress is the culprit for letting Burger King pay lower taxes after merging with Tim Hortons.
updated 7:35 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Wesley Clark says the U.S. can offer support to its Islamic friends in the region most threatened by ISIS, but it can't fight their war
updated 7:26 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Jeff Yang says the tech sector's diversity numbers are embarrassing and the big players need to do more.
updated 4:53 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
America's painful struggle with racism has often brought great satisfaction to the country's rivals, critics, and foes. The killing of Michael Brown and its tumultuous aftermath has been a bonanza.
updated 4:19 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Ed Bark says in this Emmy year, broadcasters CBS, ABC and PBS can all say they matched or exceeded HBO. These days that's no small feat
updated 3:19 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Rick Martin says the death of Robin Williams brought back memories of his own battle facing down depression as a young man
updated 11:58 AM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
David Perry asks: What's the best way for police officers to handle people with psychiatric disabilities?
updated 3:50 PM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Julian Zelizer says it's not crazy to think Mitt Romney would be able to end up at the top of the GOP ticket in 2016
updated 4:52 PM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Roxanne Jones and her girlfriends would cheer from the sidelines for the boys playing Little League. But they really wanted to play. Now Mo'ne Davis shows the world that girls really can throw.
updated 12:29 PM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Peter Bergen and Emily Schneider say a YouTube video apparently posted by ISIS seems to show that the group has a surveillance drone, highlighting a new reality: Terrorist groups have technology once only used by states
updated 5:04 PM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Kimberly Norwood is a black mom who lives in an affluent neighborhood not far from Ferguson, but she has the same fears for her children as people in that troubled town do
updated 5:45 PM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
It apparently has worked for France, say Peter Bergen and Emily Schneider, but carries uncomfortable risks. When it comes to kidnappings, nations face grim options.
updated 1:27 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
John Bare says the Ice Bucket Challenge signals a new kind of activism and peer-to-peer fund-raising.
updated 8:31 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
James Dawes says calling ISIS evil over and over again could very well make it harder to stop them.
updated 9:05 PM EDT, Sat August 23, 2014
As the inquiry into the shooting of Michael Brown continues, critics question the prosecutor's impartiality.
updated 6:47 PM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
Newt Gingrich says it's troubling that a vicious group like ISIS can recruit so many young men from Britain.
updated 10:50 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
David Weinberger says Twitter and other social networks have been vested with a responsibility, and a trust, they did not ask for.
updated 7:03 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
John Inazu says the slogan "We are Ferguson" is meant to express empathy and solidarity. It's not true: Not all of us live in those circumstances. But we all made them.
updated 8:23 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
Retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling says he learned that the territory ISIS wants to control is amazingly complex.
updated 3:51 PM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
Cerue Garlo says Liberia is desperate for help amid a Ebola outbreak that has touched every aspect of life.
updated 1:42 PM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
Eric Liu says Republicans who want to restrict voting may win now, but the party will suffer in the long term.
updated 11:38 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
Jay Parini: Jesus, Pope and now researchers agree: Wealth decreases our ability to sympathize with the poor.
updated 8:00 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
Judy Melinek offers a medical examiner's perspective on what happens when police kill people like Michael Brown.
updated 6:03 PM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
It used to be billy clubs, fire hoses and snarling German shepherds. Now it's armored personnel carriers and flash-bang grenades, writes Kara Dansky.
updated 1:27 PM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
Maria Haberfeld: People who are unfamiliar with police work can reasonably ask, why was an unarmed man shot so many times, and why was deadly force used at all?
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT