Vice President Joe Biden took to the stage at the closing night of the Democratic National Convention on Thursday, acting as a "character witness" for President Barack Obama and the tough decisions made throughout their years in office. Biden stressed that Obama was the "best hope" for America's future, citing the resurgence of the American auto industry, the death of Osama bin Laden, and Obama's focus on equal opportunities for all Americans.
Biden walked onto the stage to thunderous applause and chanting before opening his speech with a dedication to his wife, Jill Biden. After a touching tribute to his wife, Biden thanked his son Beau Biden for nominating him as vice president.
"Beau, I want to thank you for putting my name in as vice president of the United States. I accept. With great pleasure, I accept. Thank you my fellow Democrats. "
From then on, Biden stressed the importance of Barack Obama's leadership and their joint commitment to defending the middle class. Throughout his speech, Biden repeatedly emphasized that while Obama has had to make "gutsy decisions" throughout his term, Obama's "strong presence" and "steady hand" are guiding the country toward economic recovery.
"Today, I say to my fellow citizens, in the face of the greatest economic challenge of our live times, this generation of Americans has proven ourselves as worthy as any generation before us," Biden said.
Biden stressed that Obama does not waver in fighting for the average American, adding that while many voters only see him through the news, Biden gets a first-hand glimpse at the president and his passion for America.
"I don't see him in sound bites. I walk 30 paces down to the oval office and I see him in action," Biden said. "I watched him stand up and stare down enormous challenges... he knew that no matter how tough the decisions he had to make while in the oval office, Americans all across the country were sitting at their kitchen tables, having to make decisions that were just as monumental."
"A job is about much more than a paycheck. It's about respect. It's about dignity. It's about being able to look your wife in the eyes and say 'Honey, we're going to be okay' and mean it."
One of the chief arguments of Biden's case for re-election was the rescue of the American auto industry. Biden, the son of an auto dealer, stressed that though "the financial crisis hit like a sledgehammer on all the people I grew up with" that "the worst job loss since the Great Depression" is over.
Biden stated that had he and the president not acted immediately upon taking office, General Motors and many other companies would have collapsed. Though many advisors were cynical, Obama did everything he could to save the auto industry because he "understood that this wasn't just about cars. This was about the people who made those cars and the America those people built."
Biden, who served as a senator from Delaware for 36 years before being elected vice president, was born in Scranton, Pa., and cites his humble background in the city as a chief reason that he can relate to working and middle class voters.
Much of Biden's campaign rhetoric has been focused on preserving the middle class and keeping them and working class voters out of further financial trouble.
"They're not looking for a handout," Biden said in a promotional video before his speech. "They're just looking for a shot to get back in the game. And I think we owe them that shot."
Before the speech, Democratic strategist David Heller said. "He will lay into Republicans and "He will lay into the Republicans and take their case before the people. The president will make a case for remaining as president."
While Biden's speech certainly laid into Mitt Romney and his policies, the vice president was hesitant to outright attack Romney, silencing the crowd when they attempted to boo the Repblican presidential candidate.
Biden calmly explained that he does not see Mitt Romney as a bad person, but one who is simply misguided in his views.
Biden has also repeatedly stressed the tough decisions Barack Obama went through in his first term, citing the positive results from those decisions. His favorite line on the campaign trail has been "Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive."
Taking a cue from his memorable stump line, Biden also extolled Obama for having the courage to order the kill Osama bin Laden. "America's heart had to be healed," Biden said.
"If you attack innocent Americans, we will follow you to the end of the earth," Biden told the crowd, leading to thunderous applause and chants of "U-S-A! U-S-A!"
"[Obama's] response was decisive. He said 'do it,' and justice was done," Biden said.
Biden told the audience that Mitt Romney would not have the ability to make the same order Obama did, citing a 2007 interview in which Romney said that it "was not worth moving heaven and the earth" to catch Osama bin Laden.
While the Republicans repeatedly stressed that they could make the "hard decisions" at their convention last week, Biden stated that "they didn't have the courage to tell you what calls they'd make. They didn't bother to tell you that."
Another theme of Biden's was Obama's insistence on offering an equal chance to everyone in opposition to what he called Mitt Romney's focus on the rich and powerful to the exclusion of the working class, immigrants and minorities.
"Obama knows there's nothing decent or fair to ask those with more to do less and those with less to do more," Biden said. "Mitt Romney looks at equal care in the terms of a company's bottom line. Barack Obama knows that making sure our daughters get the same pay as our sons is every father's bottom line."
As Biden came to the end of his speech, he stressed that America was not in decline and that the worst was over long ago. "It's never been a good bet to bet against the American people. Never," Biden said towards the end of his speech.
As he walked off the stage, Biden emphatically told the crowd "for the ideas that inspire us, there is only one choice.The choice is to move forward, boldly forward. Finish the job we started and re-elect President Barack Obama," as he left to thunderous applause from the assembled Democrats.