Not recalling any recent campaign stop that featured the two
candidates on the Democratic ticket, I did a search for where Sen. Joe
Biden has been lately. He’s a longtime, hard-working member of Congress
who is used to the rigors of campaigning. But there’s been scant news
about him.

Here’s the rundown as I could piece it together: 

“In Rust Belt, Biden rips McCain, but is anyone listening?” –
Houston Chronicle. That came up in a Google search, though trying to
connect to the story was a futile exercise. It’s not available. Or ‘no
such article exists’ is the actual message the link pulls up.

But he has been busy out on the campaign trail.

Biden has been in Ohio, one of the most important swing states. It was at the end of the toughest week for the financial system since the Depression.

Vice presidential candidate Joe Biden ended his two-day
bus tour through Ohio here last night after a full day of touting
Barack Obama’s economic plan for middle-class families mixed with some
tough criticism of Sen. John McCain’s ideas on the economy.

Biden has been in southern Virginia.

Joe Biden attended an annual outdoor Virginia fish fry
this afternoon, where he addressed union members from the United Mining
Workers of America.

Calling John McCain a great soldier but not a wise leader, Biden
warned rural gunowners that Republicans would use the Second Amendment
to scare voters out of choosing a Democratic ticket.

“I guarantee you, Barack Obama ain’t taking my shotguns, so don’t
buy that malarkey. Don’t buy that malarkey. They’re going to start
peddling that to you. I got two, if he tries to fool with my Beretta,
he’s got a problem. I like that little over and under, you know? I’m
not bad with it.”

Biden is working hard for Obama.

In his first visit to Southwest Virginia, Democratic
vice presidential nominee Joe Biden, speaking at the United Mine
Workers’ annual fish fry here on Saturday, was quick to tout his ties
to coal.

“I hope you won’t hold it against me, but I am a hard-coal miner,
anthracite coal, Scranton, Pa.,” Biden said. “It’s nice to be back in
coal country. … It’s a different accent [in Southwest Virginia] … but
it’s the same deal. We were taught that our faith and our family was
the only really important thing, and our faith and our family informed
everything we did.”

But he hasn’t appeared lately with the candidate, Barack Obama.

In the meantime, the two candidates on the Republican ticket are turning their campaign into a roadshow.

Barnstorming through battleground states together, John
McCain and Sarah Palin have developed a buddy act that brings an energy
and focus not present when McCain campaigns alone. Before he added
Palin to a ticket encumbered with the now-unpopular Republican brand,
McCain’s events were sparsely attended and sometimes listless. That has
all changed.

McCain’s team has the running mates appear together far more often
than is the norm, forfeiting the mathematical advantage of covering two
states at a time in order to keep them side by side, resulting in
seemingly quadruple the effect, excitement and resonance.

This Time, not exactly a Republican cheerleader. But this is also
undeniably a new dynamic. Time reports it with color and
animation…which the campaign has seized, for the moment.

Both McCain and Palin brag about the other one’s
accomplishments and seem increasingly comfortable engaging in banter.
Their crusty warhorse/feisty newcomer interplay, complete with
exaggerated facial expressions and playful physicality, have created an
unforeseen alchemy (a grander, graver version of Regis and Kelly). The
old senator and young governor stay unswervingly on message, delivering
both the positive and negative storylines that are key for any
successful campaign.

Soon, the candidates will square off individually for the
presidential and vice-presidential debates. In the meantime, will Biden
campaign with Obama? Both strategies have merit….cover more territory
by splitting up, versus winning over crowds as a personable roadshow.
The way they’re going about their strategy right now tells a lot about
the two campaigns.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....