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Biden: The running mate's two tasks

Aboard her plane en route to Israel today, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had positive words for Obama's new running mate, NBC's Libby Leist reports. Despite his often-harsh criticism of the Bush Administration's foreign policy, Rice called Biden "a very fine statesman" and "a true patriot. "She said she would not comment on the "politics" of the selection, but told reporters: "I've known him for a long time. He's been a really very supportive committee chair and before that ranking chair for the State Department and for our diplomatic efforts."

Per the New York Times, the Obama camp has two tasks for Biden: to campaign in the Industrial Midwest and to whack McCain. "[C]ampaign advisers said Sunday that they were certain Mr. Biden would spend considerable time campaigning through Election Day in four swing states: Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania." More: "A task for Mr. Biden, the advisers said, will be to doggedly portray the presumptive Republican nominee … as a handmaiden for President Bush who would continue his policies. In the words of one adviser, Mr. Biden can be an artful critic because he knows 'chapter and verse' about Mr. McCain's Senate votes and controversial positions after serving with him for two decades." 

If you want proof as to why the Obama campaign thought waiting until the very last minute to name a VP, look no further than this other New York Times story about Biden's lobbyist son.  Imagine how high up the media food chain this story would be if this weren't the first day of the convention?  "During the years that … Biden was helping the credit card industry win passage of a law making it harder for consumers to file for bankruptcy protection, his son had a consulting agreement that lasted five years with one of the largest companies pushing for the changes, aides to Senator Barack Obama's presidential campaign acknowledged Sunday… Campaign officials acknowledged that the connection between the Bidens and MBNA, the enormous financial services company then based in their home state of Delaware, was one of the most sensitive issues they examined while vetting the senator for a spot on the ticket."