Biden chokes up as he goes toe to toe with Palin on family challenges

October 3, 2008

Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden went toe to toe with Republican rival Sarah Palin at their debate when talking about understanding the kitchen table issues families face, choking up when talking about the challenges they face.

When asked about his Achilles heel possibly being his lack of discipline, Biden turned the question around to talk about his “excessive passion”.

Palin has periodically talked about her challenges as a mother without health care coverage as well as raising a family of five, including her decision to have a child that would have down syndrome.

Biden made clear that his opponent did not have a monopoly on the family issue and understanding the challenges families face, welling up at the end.

“Look, I understand what it’s like to be a single parent.  When my wife and daughter died and my two sons were gravely injured, I understand what it’s like as a parent to wonder what it’s like if your kid’s going to make it.   
I understand what it’s like to sit around the kitchen table with a father who says, “I’ve got to leave, champ, because there’s no jobs here.  I got to head down to Wilmington.  And when we get enough money, honey, we’ll bring you down.”   
I understand what it’s like.  I’m much better off than almost all Americans now.  I get a good salary with the United States Senate.  I live in a beautiful house that’s my total investment that I have.  So I — I am much better off now.   
But the notion that somehow, because I’m a man, I don’t know what it’s like to raise two kids alone, I don’t know what it’s like to have a child you’re not sure is going to — is going to make it — I understand.”

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It was very weak when Biden began to choke up. It didn’t look very presidential. I think he was crying because he was getting his clock cleaned by Sarah Palin!

Posted by Brian | Report as abusive

The obvious answer to the question on what is Biden’s weakness is that he is long winded. In his defense, i at least believe he understood the question.

Biden won the debate. Palin showed her true colors and it was very scary. She really only should be running for the PTA, where she can talk about hockey, soccer and and her six pack husband> Yikes, she might be okay, but shouldn’t we expect more from someone to run this country.

Posted by Kathy | Report as abusive

Biden was the clear winner tonight. Palin looked VERY nervous in the beginning, but did better than expected. However, many of her answers seemed over-rehearsed and as she was just trying to run through all the talking points they gave her. Biden was not weak, was human, and was very presidential. He would be a good veep to Obama.

Posted by Jennifer | Report as abusive

Weak? Seriously? I think that it proved that he was human. Presidential doesn’t mean not showing emotions, it means acknowledging them and handling them with tact. It’s not like he was bawling. Furthermore, it made his point. Just because he’s not a woman doesn’t mean he does not know what it’s like to raise a family. It made him believable, considering this is most people’s first encounter with him.
Palin did better than expected but when compared to the impecable job Biden did, she looked very inexperienced – like she was coached about what to say in the last couple of weeks. I still didn’t learn enough from her. What is she about? What does she believe? What would she do? All I got was that she was taking the populist approach to the debate and she had a script that she referred to for every single question hence the same argument over and over. It didn’t hurt the McCain campaign but for the average voter, it just didn’t make the cut.

Posted by Mary | Report as abusive

Weak that he choked up?! He lost his wife and daughter in a car accident!

Sarah Palin couldn’t even answer the questions asked of her! All she did was read her script and wink at the camera.

McCain has a 30% chance, statistically, of not making it through 2 consecutive terms of presidency due to his age. This puts President Palin as a very real possibility in our future. It’s bad enough that Bush was a C student at the bottom of his class at Yale, and that McCain was 894 out of 899 students in his Naval University. If Sarah Palin can’t answer a question without consulting a script or diverting the topic, it doesn’t bode well for her either.

Posted by Sean | Report as abusive

Biden is a good good man. Is is emotional EXACTLY like my father. My father is the best person I’ve ever known. I’ve thought so highly of Biden and McCain for so so long. I’m sad to see what McCain has become. I am so honored to be here in a time when our country respects a man as GOOD, caring and honorable as Joe Biden.
I respect Barack Obama even more for seeing the many qualities in this amazing man!!!

Posted by Donna | Report as abusive

I was impressed by Biden’s ability to articulate the struggle he endured as a single father raising two sons after the death of his wife and daughter. The pain he expressed showed his sincere understanding of the struggles of others. I was caught off guard by his emotions, and I wanted to cry with him. It is evident that Biden is a passionate man.

Posted by Aaron Sonnenburg | Report as abusive

Brian is obviously more comfortable with the cowboy mentality we have had to endure for too long in the country. What would really be a sign of a small leader would be for Senator Biden to have had not emotion when talking about the horrific loss of his wife and child in a car crash. The fact that he could endure this loss, be a single dad who was home every night, and have an amazing Senate career looking out for real people is as “presidential” as anything our Nation has seen in years. I don’t want to belittle this conversation with talk of sports, but look at how our coach got the Giants to a Super Bowl victory. By giving up his stubburn, short-sighted ways and listening, being empathic and getting beyond Black & White thinking. If this is the kind of leadership we need for a winning team, certainly it is what we should expect from our political leaders. Looking forward to “real” men finally running our country!

Posted by Jim | Report as abusive

Bryan— you’re a heartless idiot.

Posted by J T | Report as abusive

If Biden won the debate, what was all of that huffing and puffing on the mic that I heard him doing? Or are your TV’s not as high functioning as mine? Or is he just so old having congestive heart failure that he is going to croak? Really, McCain looks healthier than he does. And what are you doing talking about McCain dying? What about the fact that Obama (if he gets in office, if) would be the 1st black man in the Presidency? Do you think that he is not going to be the target of some angry white man?

Yes, Palin is strong enough, she is smart enough, she is tenacious enough, she is faithful enough, she is truthful enough, and she is quick enough to lead our country all by herself. And if you don’t think that, then you have never been around an intelligent, capable woman.

She is the All American Woman. She is what all American Women should be. Palin for President!

Posted by mmm | Report as abusive

Many people are parents and that in itself is a challenge. I am very happy that Biden was able to show is emotions and highlight the challenges of being a single father. Its not only about mothers as motherhood is some sort of unique selling point of Palin. It concerns me that in the evaluation of Palin there are strong thoughts that she did so well but not comparing it to the low base that she started with. It seems like she is on a crash course to the White House. She is not presidential at this point and needs to learn the ropes a bit more to be considered for the highest office in the free world at this point in time. This does not mean that she can’t begin trying, perhaps for another election in the future. I have to ask what does this say about McCain and his judgement in chosing such a novice running mate. Well done Biden.

Posted by kim | Report as abusive

Palin the puppet.

What a shallow performence of Palin. She was like a puppet who knows nothing about anything and her spin-docters put her little ignorent brain full of populistic phrases.

Biden could have knocked her out anytime but he didnt. I think Biden felt sorry for the “hockey-mom”

If she would become VP or President that would be a real danger for the world.

Posted by Chris Boston USA | Report as abusive

Palin is a breath of fresh air. Biden has been around since NIXON was president and hasn’t done squat except talk and talk and talk. Oh yes, and get rich off of his lobbist son’s asbestos lawsuits. Biden is obviously part of the problem. Did you once hear Biden or Obama apologize for the mess we are in? Only one group has a lower polling number than Bush and that is CONGRESS!!Throw Biden and his empty-suit running mate, along with Barney Frank and Chris Dodd out! Better yet, throw them into jail for what they have done. Let’s get some people from as far from the Washington beltway as we can find!!

Posted by PAJR | Report as abusive

What will you fools do when McCain/Palin win?
Who will you blame?
Will you riot in the streets?

Posted by Flobama | Report as abusive

I was absolutely turned off by the “Alaskan Cheerleader” who was able to prove that she can memorize her cheers while winking at the camera. This was a testament of the person being so illogical that unless she could repeat her “maverick “speech, there was no way to have an actual debate with her.
Issues: National Security:
I feel that she is one more time had confirmed to all world that John McCain has a personal unsatisfied desire to “fight” as she repeatedly said it in her speech. And, that the discussion of the former secretaries of state, a week ago have zero impact on her. It is to say that, we are going to be in the war against any country that John McCain will have personal grudge against. The fact that people, who had spent their entire life on working with foreign countries, actually studied all existing problems in depth, have “No say” in McCain & Palin’s office.
Issue: Biden being emotional:
Finally, I see a real person, who actually lived it through…. And saw it all… I lost my husband in a car accident when our daughter was only two days old. I know what he felt when she addressed public that she is the only one who knows what it is like to struggle.

Posted by Anna | Report as abusive

mmm- are you saying that women who are not like Sarah Palin are not All American Women? Because if you are, I think you need to go read a few history books and find out what it really means to be an All American Woman.

Don’t insult the rest of us hard working women.

Posted by Nichole | Report as abusive

Palin showed up wearing a tight skirt as she wiggled up on the podium (maybe Biden should have worn an unbuttoned polo shirt). Then, as she grinned, smirked and winked like the sportscaster/pageant girl personality that she is, she kept reverting back to her canned “up here in Alaska” sound bytes and “doggone it” and “you betcha”.

I have have been a staunch Republican for decades, and when McCain has a coronary, she’ll be the one meeting with foreign leaders and making decisions. Let’s see, she already met with the president of Pakistan and she wore a short skirt. They talked about their kids like it was old home day. He stared at her legs and flirted with her, she giggled. Which caused a cleric in Pakistan to issue a Fatwah against the Pakistani president for coming onto a married non-Muslim woman.

I hope that people will quit looking at this election as another episode of American Idol or Dancing with the Stars or some other reality show where we have a “favorite” that we root for because we like their style or hairdo. The stakes are too high. The only thing we have to lose it just… everything.

Posted by Kelley | Report as abusive

Brian, I think you’re a little politically naive. Look, Biden’s main goal was not to come off like a stuffy, old, cantankerous troll like Cheney, and not to alienate all the female voters who were rooting for Palin. When Palin alludes to her merit as a parent of five struggling to raise her children, and being concerned about their future, I think it was beautifully played (and with sincerity) that Biden took her on. What could be more challenging than losing your partner and one of your children, watching your surviving kids make a slow painful recovery, and then raising them alone… That story and that little sob boar a soft spot in many a woman voters’ hearts.

Posted by Nicole | Report as abusive

I don’t like Sen. Bidens politics but I think it is uncalled for to question his motivations when he gets choked up talking about his deceased wife and children. Come on…there has to be a little decency on this blog. Is nothing out of bounds? How about a little tolerance?

Posted by Chris | Report as abusive

BOTH Biden and Palin overcame a lot and have faced a lot — the point is can’t we ever rise above all this politics —
THEY ARE BOTH GREAT PEOPLE — does everything have to be us against them???? I admire and love Obama — even though i am a conservative — i think the world of Biden —he is obviously a great human-being —- so is Palin.
No human-being should discount the value and preciousness of another—we all matter and count — free to think and feel as we do — but this political division is overdone – BOTH BIDEN AND PALIN are great and tryly good people. that’s how i feel. i am a republican – and that’s how i truly feel. fwiw

Posted by mark99 | Report as abusive