Mondale offers advice to Biden

Walter Mondale offer advice for Biden
Former Vice President Walter Mondale at a press conference in Denver. Walter Mondale said his message to Joe Biden is simple. Biden should serve as a general adviser to Obama during the campaign, and if he is elected president.
MPR Photo/Tom Scheck

Walter Mondale said his message to Joe Biden is simple. Biden should serve as a general adviser to Obama during the campaign, and if he is elected president. His other advice is to campaign in the states that matter and don't stop until election day.

"I will talk about how we campaigned. I campaigned for Jimmy Carter, and what I thought worked effectively," Mondale said.

Mondale said the political landscape of the 2008 election isn't that much different from when he first ran for vice president in 1976. He said Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan are critical swing states this year just as they were in 1976.

"I was in Ohio more than their county commissioners were, and we carried a lot of those states, and Joe Biden is perfectly positioned to do that, " explained Mondale.

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Walter Mondale
Former vice president Walter Mondale on Nov. 5, 2002, election night. With the death of incumbent Democratic Sen. Paul Wellstone in a plane crash, Mondale came out of retirement to substitute for Wellstone with just five days to go to the election. Mondale lost to Republican Norm Coleman.
Photo by CRAIG LASSIG/AFP/Getty Images

Biden grew up in the working class town of Scranton, Penn. Since the economy is the top issue this election, the Obama campaign is hoping Biden's familiarity with working class people will help them in critical swing states. Biden reportedly takes his own trash to the dump and ranks on the bottom of the personal wealth scale among members of the Senate.

Delegate Valerie Coit of Wrenshall said that will play well with working class voters.

"I think people want to know that he's not in that elite category that we now identify so heavily with what with his seven homes and all," said Coit. "That makes a difference, just feeling that they have a better understanding of their lifestyles and how the average person lives in America."

Other members of the Minnesota delegation say Biden will bring vigor to the ticket. Yolanda Lehman of St. Cloud said Barack Obama picked someone who thinks independently.

"He brought somebody to the table who will sharpen him, who will challenge him, who will cause him to think in new and exciting ways," said Lehman. "I don't think it's always a good idea to surround yourself with yes man. I think they are going to be a great team."

Sen. Joe Biden
U.S. Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) (3rd L) gives the thumbs up as his wife Jill Biden (R) looks on during day one of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) at the Pepsi Center August 25, 2008 in Denver, Colorado.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Biden is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. It's likely that he will tout that experience when he addresses the delegates tonight. Sam Scott, of Andover, is an Iraq war veteran. He thinks Biden's credentials will strengthen the ticket.

"He brings a lot of things that may have been perceived as a weakness. He can help win for us. He does complement the ticket quite well, as far as foreign policy experience which is one of Obama's perceived weaknesses," said Scott.

While the Democrats have settled on a vice presidential candidate, Republican John McCain has still not announced his decision. One of those under consideration is Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who visited the Minnesota State Fair today. Pawlenty won't address the VP speculation, but he was more than happy to offer an opinion on Biden.

"We welcome Senator Biden to the race, but he largely reflects Senator Obama's voting record against domestic energy production, in favor of raising taxes, in favor of not holding education accountable for the outcomes and the like," said Pawlenty. "So we welcome Senator Biden to the race, but he's largely an echo chamber for Senator Obama on many positions."

Pawlenty is expected to continue that criticism of Biden and Obama when he makes a stop in Denver on Thursday. He said he's scheduled to be back in Minnesota on Friday and Saturday, which leads some in the media to wonder whether Pawlenty will be McCain's running mate. McCain is expected to announce his pick at a Friday morning rally in Dayton, Ohio.