We are less than three months out from the presidential election. Yes, I know that it seems as if it has already lasted forever, but so far, it's simply been the warm-up.
The race is now in earnest.
With the presumptive Republican nominee, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, choosing Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate, the lines of the presidential race have been finalized. The only apparent potential shake-up left would be President Obama's campaign replacing Vice President Joe Biden with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
But Biden is proving beneficial to the president's campaign.
This week, his statement at a campaign event both served to focus on the divisions with the American people, as well as remind people that vice presidents don't have to be serious, or taken seriously.
Both are of service to the Obama campaign.
This past Tuesday morning in Danville, Va., Biden addressed a crowd of 1,000 supporters. During his comments, he directed his attacks on the Republican ticket. "Look at what they (Republicans) value, and look at their budget. And look what they're proposing. (Romney) said in the first 100 days, he's going to let the big banks write their own rules -- unchain Wall Street." He then paused for effect and thickened his voice before continuing, "They're going to put y'all back in chains."
Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani noted later that night on Larry Kudlow's show, "I think if it came from somebody serious, maybe we would get all excited about it... The vice president of the United States has become a laugh line on late night television. I mean - I have never seen a vice president that has made as many mistakes, said as many stupid things. I mean, there's a real fear if, God forbid, he ever had to be entrusted with the presidency, whether he really has the mental capacity to handle it."
Just when the Ryan pick provides gravitas and seriousness on the Republican ticket, Biden's gaffe reminds us that vice presidents are largely inconsequential.
Watching Romney's speech later that same night in Ohio showcased a candidate who appears to have reached his stride and found the positive passion needed to win a campaign.
Isn't it interesting that two people can see or experience the exact same event and come away with two totally different opinions? Or at least profess two totally different opinions. What President Obama's campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt described as "unhinged" seemed to me to be passionate.
LaBolt was referring to the same speech by Romney in Chillicothe, Ohio.
Unhinged - really. Romney might be many things - stiff, uptight - but unhinged?
LaBolt in confusing passion with being unhinged.
Talking about those who had been left behind in our economy in the past four years, Romney promised them,
"You have not been forgotten, we will not leave you behind, this is American, we are Americans, it does not have to be this way, and we will make sure that American will be right for all our people."
Referring to Obama's campaign and Biden's remarks, "Mr. President," said Romney, "take your campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago and let us get about rebuilding and reuniting America."
While sitting presidents often run on their record (think of the "Morning in America" ad for President Reagan), Romney noted, "You don't hear any answers coming from President Obama's re-election campaign. That's because he's intellectually exhausted, out of ideas and out of energy. And so his campaign has resorted to diversions and distractions, to demagoguery and defaming others. It's an old game in politics."
Obama's promises in 2008 and then remarked that regarding this type of campaigning, "He knows better, he promised better, and America deserves better."
"He and his allies are pushing us all even farther apart, by dividing us into groups," he said. "He demonizes some, he panders to others. His campaign strategy is to smash American apart and then to try to cobble together 51 percent of the pieces. If an American president wins that way, we should all lose. But he won't win that way."
"America runs on freedom," Romney began his close. "Government does not build our businesses, people do. American people build the government. We pay for the government with our taxes."
"We believe in America and we believe in you."
Romney was not unhinged - but instead a candidate hitting his stride for the final quarter.
The question of this campaign will be: What do Americans believe in?
Do they believe in government or in the American people?
To find out more about Jackie Gingrich Cushman, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit creators.com.