In terms of speaking engagements, Vice President Joe Biden typically never fails to deliver in terms of noteworthy -- even cringe-worthy -- moments. On the last evening of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, the fiery, at times unfiltered Biden was visibly more restrained than he has been of late. Nonetheless, the vice president did not miss an opportunity to invoke a reference to paying one's fair share as he attempted to differentiate the two presidential candidates' value-systems.
While he did assail rivals Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan -- traditionally the role of vice president on the campaign trail -- he also focused on explaining why he has come to respect Obama, a man he painted as thoughtful, compassionate and sure-handed. Biden's remarks were likely intended as an appeal to the working and middle class, a demographic the Scranton-native has traditionally spoken to effectively.
Keeping in line with the campaign theme of moving the nation "forward," Biden outlined the differences between "the two men seeking to lead this country over the next four years," who each "have fundamentally different visions, and completely different value set."
He attempted to make the case that Romney isn't suited to make the tough calls or repair the nation's flailing economy and repeated the familiar meme that Romney is out of touch with ordinary Americans.
"I found it fascinating last week when Gov. Romney said that as president, he'd take a jobs tour. Well, with all his support for outsourcing it's going to have to be a foreign trip," Biden stated.
"President Obama knows that creating jobs in America — keeping jobs in America — and bringing jobs back to America is what being president is all about."
The overall message of Biden's speech was fairly clear -- Democrats are compassionate and inclusive while Republicans focus mainly on building wealth and exclusivity.
"In a moment you're going to hear from a man, whose whole life is a testament to the power of that dream," Biden stated to a cheering crowd.
"And whose Presidency is the best hope to secure that dream, for our children." He went to to talk about his campaign's "forward" vision of the future, where "everyone rich or poor does their part and has a part."
This future also includes "depending more on clean energy," promoting the private rather than "privileged sector," and where "women control their own choices, health, and destiny."
"We see a future where America leads not only by the example of our power, but by the power of our example. Where we bring our troops home from Afghanistan, just as we brought them home from Iraq."
Addressing the more personal side of the president, Biden took ample time to talk about the "gutsy" decisions he claims are made often by Obama, who he says has "stared down enormous challenges" time and again. He spoke about the struggling families that have touched the president's life and attempted to convey that the president always considers how his decisions will affect others.
"That's who he is."
He also claimed that with a "steady hand" Obama "restored the confidence of the whole world."
"Obama has a spine of steel and always has the courage to make the tough decisions."
In terms of comparison, Paul Ryan's speech at the Republican National Convention just one week ago was arguably more dynamic. In fact, it was even likened to a series of sharp, "stiletto attacks" on the president, by author and columnist Charles Krauthammer.
In his now-famous zinger, Ryan said, “college graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life.”
Ryan was relentless in his attacks on the Obama administration, condemning the president for his campaign of "fear and division" and penchant for blaming the previous administration for his current failures. He painted Obama as a man who has vilified business and personal responsibility while praising Romney's successes.
Biden did blast Romney and Ryan over Medicare, and accused them of favoring tax cuts for the wealthy and the outsourcing of jobs -- again, all familiar Democratic talking points, but was perhaps less effective in this regard. Rather, Biden's speech was intended to instill confidence in the working and middle class that Obama relates to them and cares about the issues that they claim matter most.
Speaking about the decisions that have defined Obama's first term, such as sending Navy SEALs into Pakistan to assassinate Osama bin Laden and helping to bail out America's automakers, Biden of course repeated his common catch-phrase: "Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive."
"The journey of hope is not yet finished, but we are on our way," Biden told the audience. "The cause of change is not fully accomplished, but we are on our way...The choice is to move forward, boldly forward."
Biden was moved to tears earlier in the evening as he accepted the nomination for vice president at the DNC. Watch the video here: