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Originally published August 26, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified August 26, 2008 at 8:46 AM

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Editorial

Biden, the solid choice

Joe Biden is a solid choice to be the Democratic nominee for vice president.

Joe Biden adds heft to the Democratic ticket and brings few liabilities. The senior senator from Delaware gives Barack Obama some things he does not have: long experience in the nation's capital and a deep knowledge of foreign policy.

The white-haired Biden, who will be 66 in November, was elected to the Senate from Delaware at 29, taking office just after turning 30 — the minimum age for a U.S. senator. Unlike Obama, 46, who is a junior senator in his first term, Biden has spent his life in the Senate and chairs the powerful Foreign Relations Committee.

We have not always agreed with Biden. He was more accepting than we were of the Iraq adventure, voting in October 2002 to give President Bush the power to start a war. Many other Democrats, including Sen. Patty Murray, voted no.

Biden did not, however, swallow the Bush administration's fantasy that the occupation would be easy, and could be done with a regency in Baghdad and minimal military force. Biden has long been one of the foreign-policy brains of the Senate along with such Republicans as Richard Lugar and Chuck Hagel.

Biden also serves on the Judiciary Committee, including subcommittees that have to do with crime, illegal drugs, human rights, immigration and terrorism. All of these are big fields for federal power.

We note especially that Biden serves on the Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust issues — a topic that the national press ignores, but that is hugely important to ordinary Americans. The Bush administration has let big corporations buy whatever was for sale. Biden, who is in no industry's pocket, would pay more attention to the public interest.

Biden's name is often associated with two negatives: slips of the tongue and the plagiarism of a speech by British politician Neil Kinnock. The plagiarism was long ago and nobody cares about it. The slips of the tongue have had to do with propriety, not substance, and are a fault that for many Americans make the man more likable.

Biden is a solid and reassuring choice for vice president.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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