ST. PAUL, MN.--Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden told NBC's "Today Show" host Matt Lauer counterpart Sarah Palin will be a "formidable" contender. But in the end, said Biden, "It's what they are going to do? Show me.
"This is show me. What are you going to do to dig us out of the hole you dug us into? How are you going to convince the American people it's just not four more years of the last eight years? And if they can do that, they win. If they can't do that, they're going to lose," Biden said.
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courtesy of Federal News Service.....
MR. LAUER: Senator Joe Biden is the vice presidential candidate on the Democratic side.
Hi, Senator. Good morning.
SEN. BIDEN: Hey, Matt. How are you doing?
MR. LAUER: I'm doing fine. Game on. Sarah Palin made a speech last night --
SEN. BIDEN: I guess so. (Laughs.)
MR. LAUER: Yeah. It was tough. It was direct; hard words for Senator Obama. I'm curious -- has this taken away any concern you may have had about tone or words you choose in the coming weeks?
SEN. BIDEN: (Laughs.) Well, look, I'm not going to change my tone. I think the governor delivered one heck of a political speech, and I think she did it with great skill.
The thing that impressed me most is what I didn't hear in the speech. I didn't hear a word -- I didn't hear the word middle class mentioned, health care, college assistance, all the things that are burdening the middle class. And I didn't hear a single thing about how they're going to dig us out of the hole that the Bush administration has dug us into.
So, you know, it's clear to me that it was just going to be all about attack. It sounded like Karl Rove stuff. It was real good. But it was really very, very well-delivered.
MR. LAUER: Well, it wasn't all about attack. It was about experience. It was trying to lay to rest some of the fears that seem to be out there about her level of experience. And for the doubters out there, these were her words. She said and since her opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience -- she's referring to hers as a small-town mayor -- "let me explain to them what the job involves. I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities."
It's a direct reference to a key biographical element of Barack Obama, that his days -- all he's learned as a community organizer in Chicago. Did she manage to diminish that experience?
SEN. BIDEN: I don't think so. Look, the American public's pretty smart. The fact of the matter is that Barack Obama has done a great deal since he was a community organizer. He went on to law school. He went on to a great career academically. He went on to be a state senator who brought health care to hundreds of thousands of people in his state.
He went on to become a United States senator who shepherded the most significant ethics reform since Watergate through this. I mean, so, you know, to go back 20 years, which is an essential part of what makes him care so much and try to make that his whole experience is -- I think the American public, you know, sees through.
But, look, this is -- you know, the American public is going to, you know, over time -- over the next 60 days, whatever it is, I think they're going to get a pretty clear picture of who has what experience.
MR. LAUER: We're going to get some head-to-head picture there when you two go at each other in a debate.
SEN. BIDEN: (Laughs.)
MR. LAUER: And if I'm Sarah Palin, not to put words in Governor Palin's mouth, I'm going to say this about you. I'm going to say, "Look, you have no executive experience. I'm the governor of a state. I balance a budget. My state holds the key to 20 percent of this country's energy reserves. The buck stops with me. I'm not one of 100 voices in the U.S. Senate." How are you going to answer it?
SEN. BIDEN: You'll hear it when I answer it.
MR. LAUER: Well, give me a preview a little bit, because that's a subject that we're going to be talking about a lot --
SEN. BIDEN: I'm not going to give you --
MR. LAUER: -- over the next six weeks.
SEN. BIDEN: Look, I'm not going to give you a preview. The truth of the matter is that I've got a record that, in terms of accomplishment in the United States Senate in this country, that I am very proud of. And, you know, I noticed last night she never mentioned one word about Afghanistan or Pakistan. I noticed there wasn't a single, solitary word mentioned about how we're going to create significant new jobs.
Look, this is all done to mask the fact that they don't want to own up to the last eight years and they don't have any plan for the next four years. And so that's what we're going to talk -- what I'm going to try to talk about in the debate. And the governor -- as I said, I think she could be a very skillful debater, I think. And so I think it's going to be a tough debate.
MR. LAUER: You bring up Pakistan and Afghanistan. I mean, the pundits say that obviously one of the key elements to your resume is foreign affairs. Even John McCain has admitted you're an expert and you would be someone that he would have gone to for advice on that. So are you going to make great hay out of her lack of foreign affairs experience and even her lack of travel outside the United States?
SEN. BIDEN: Look, what I'm going to try to do, Matt, is what I've been trying to do my whole career, is talk about what I think and talk about what I want to do and talk about my role in an Obama-Biden administration. I'm not going to be talking about the governor. Let the American people make their judgment about the governor. She's a woman of significant accomplishment, and I'm not going to in any way attempt to diminish that. It's real. And let them make a choice.
I'm going to talk about the difference between where they want to take the country and where we want to take it, like on tax cuts. I mean, everything she said about the tax thing was simply not true. We're going to cut taxes for 95 percent of the American people. Her sister owning that gas station is going to be better off under a Democratic administration than a Republican administration unless she's making over $250,000 a year. I mean, we have real concrete plans.
I never -- look, let me put it this way. I've never seen the American public as focused on their future and concerned as they are today. And I think all these great lines are going to fall by the wayside. They're going to want to know, "What are you going to do? Are you going to change the direction of the world and this country?"
MR. LAUER: Let me just --
SEN. BIDEN: At least I'm assuming that.
MR. LAUER: Let me just end on one more question about Governor Palin.
SEN. BIDEN: Sure.
MR. LAUER: You know, when her name was first introduced as John McCain's running mate, there was a lot of people who said, "What? This is a surprise. This is a shock." Does it seem now, after what you've seen over the last five or six days, Senator, that she's going to pose a bigger problem than expected for the Democratic Party?
SEN. BIDEN: Oh, I think she's going to be formidable. I think she's formidable. She has a great story. She has a great family. She has been elected governor of her state. She is -- you know, I just think she's going to be very, very formidable.
But at the end of the day, it's what are they going to do? Show me. This is show me. What are you going to do to dig us out of the hole you dug us into? How are you going to convince the American people it's just not four more years of the last eight years? And if they can do that, they win. If they can't do that, they're going to lose.
MR. LAUER: Senator Joe Biden. Senator, nice to spend time with you this morning. Thanks very much.
SEN. BIDEN: Thanks, Matt.