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On August 13, I wrote:
Obama will chose Joe Biden. I must say, if I’d drawn up a veep list a few list a few months ago, Biden wouldn’t have even made the top ten. He’s a Washington insider and a two-time failed presidential candidate who represents a safe Democratic state (Delaware). But here’s why I think Obama might just go there. The main reason he makes most top ten lists these days is his experience with foreign affairs. What became clear to me was that Biden is probably the best pick in terms of religious politics. Obama desperately needs to retain his lead among Catholics and improve upon John Kerry’s showing.
But choosing a pro-choice Catholic could backfire because the Bishops and others will attack him or her for being a bad Catholic. Choosing a full-blown pro-life Catholic would alienate pro-choice, independent women and Hillary voters. Biden is pro-choice but got a low rating from abortion rights groups (60% in 2007, 39% in 2003). In other words, he’s Catholic enough to appeal to Catholics, pro-life enough to avoid Bishop attacks, and pro-choice enough to satisfy Hillary voters.
A source close to the Obama campaign tells my Beliefnet colleague Dan Gilgoff (a.k.a. God-o-Meter) that the “fact that Biden’s a proud and committed Catholic was definitely a big plus.”
Biden went to Catholic boys school and has said, “The animating principle of my faith, as taught to me by church and home, was that the cardinal sin was abuse of power. It was not only required as a good Catholic to abhor and avoid abuse of power, but to do something to end that abuse.”
He goes to mass regularly and says, “I get comfort from carrying my rosary, going to mass every Sunday. It’s my time alone:”
Remember: for all the talk about the evangelical vote, the fight for the Catholic vote is just as important. John Kerry lost the Catholic vote in 2004, despite being Catholic. Obama needs to win the Catholic vote, and Biden can help him do that.