From NBC/NJ's Mike Memoli
SCRANTON, PA -- This morning, Joe Biden said today was not a day for national politics. He said it again during a roundtable discussion outside his childhood home here this afternoon. But before long, he couldn't help himself, criticizing McCain for his views on offshore drilling and questioning his foreign policy judgment.
"The only guy in America in a position of some authority who is out of sync with the whole rest of the world is John McCain," he told a small group of relatives and old family friends. "This Administration, the Iraqis, NATO, the Europeans, our friends around the world, the vast majority of the American people, the Democratic-controlled Congress, Republicans in Congress -- they all agree. Barack Obama was right, and John McCain was wrong."
Biden was referring to Obama's call for a timeline for withdrawal, something he said he's now preparing to see through as an agreement between the Bush Administration and the Iraqi government comes to his desk as chair of the Foreign Relations Committee. He compared that to McCain's claim that a timeline would be tantamount to surrender.
He also said the Republican nominee's statement that Obama would lose a war to win an election is embarrassing. "Barack Obama was ahead of the curve; John McCain is still way behind the curb," he said. "I promise you. I promise you. We will secure America."
The Delaware senator called the return to the Green Ridge neighborhood an emotional one. And he offered personal testimony as to Obama's readiness to be president, and perhaps as importantly, his personal qualities. "I promise you, my word as a Biden -- if Barack grew up in our neighborhood like he did in Kansas [sic] being raised by his grandparents, if he grew up here being raised by his grandparents, he'd have been our friend," he said. "He'd cover your back."
Biden was joined by his brother, Jimmy, two cousins, and his mother, Jean. And he joked that those who think he's a bit verbose ought to spend some time with mom.
"They ain't been around my house," he said.
And before the roundtable, he toured his old home, now owned by Anne Kearns. He even signed the staircase, writing in Sharpee, "I am home. Joe Biden. 9.1.08."
"If my father were here he'd smack me," he said.
*** UPDATE *** McCain spokesman Ben Porritt responds: "While John McCain has called upon Americans to serve and assist our fellow citizens in the gulf states, Barack Obama's own running mate, Joe Biden, clearly has no limits when it comes to political attacks. Either Barack Obama's claims of bipartisanship are empty or he is unable to control his running mate."