From NBC/NJ's Mike Memoli
ST. JOSEPH, MO – Joe Biden echoed the campaign's response to continued Republican efforts to highlight Obama's past associations, adding a personal touch to the idea that McCain wasn't willing to make the attacks in person.
"All of the things they said about Barack Obama in the TV, on the TV, at their rallies, and now on YouTube … John McCain could not bring himself to look Barack Obama in the eye and say the same things to him," Biden said this morning. "In my neighborhood, when you've got something to say to a guy, you look him in the eye and you say it to him."
Biden, who arrived on stage in St. Joseph to chants of "Joe! Joe! Joe," urged the crowd not to be distracted by McCain claims, saying that every "false charge, every baseless accusation is an attempt to get you to stop paying attention to what's going on in this country and what's going on in your lives." And on the issues that matter, he said, McCain is offbase, particularly on his newest mortgage plan.
"The McCain campaign continues … to lurch from one place to another trying to convince you all that they're capable of dealing with the incredibly difficult problem," he said. "Now he's gone to the point of actually wanting to reward banks and lenders for their greedy behavior. Ladies and gentlemen, this is not a steady hand."
Biden said that Democrats' plans focus on the middle class, arguing that when the middle class fails, "America fails." That's not to say, he cautioned, that he has any problem with the wealthy.
"God love them, they're patriotic folks," he said. "I hope my grandchildren end up being rich people so I get a window with a view when they put me in a home. But look, all kidding aside, wealthy people do well, when? When the middle class does well."
*** UPDATE *** McCain spokesman Ben Porritt replies, "Barack Obama and his running mate should worry about explaining to the middle class why they refuse to support John McCain's plan to keep American's in their home. Biden should look the American people in the eye and explain why Barack Obama supports raising taxes for middle class voters making as little as $42,000. Joe Biden must explain Barack Obama's ties to a domestic terrorist and other radical organizations like ACORN. The turncoat salesmanship by Joe Biden isn't enough to erase Barack Obama's dismal record and poor judgment on critical issues facing the middle class."