Biden Hails Obama, Slams McCain

Joe Biden was nominated for vice president Wednesday night and declared that the challenges America faces require "more than a good soldier" in the White House, hailing Barack Obama as a wise leader who can deliver the change the nation needs.

In a single sentence, Obama's new running mate complimented John McCain's years of military service and slapped his claim on the presidency. (Joe Biden's speech:

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Biden drew contrasts between the records of McCain and Obama. On many issues, he said "John McCain was wrong, and Barack Obama was right."

Following Biden's speech, Obama stepped onto the convention hall stage.

"I think the convention's gone pretty well so far, what do you think," said the Democrats' man of the hour in a jubilant visit. The crowd thundered its approval, and he and Biden basked in the cheers.

Obama implored the delegates to help him "take back America" in the fall campaign against Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

The Democratic National Convention approved Obama's chosen running mate by acclamation in primetime on Wednesday night. Biden accepted with a summons to voters to elect Obama, formally nominated for president earlier in the day, as the nation's 44th president.

In his acceptance speech, Biden said Obama was right about Iraq, a war he opposed from the start, and McCain was wrong.

"These times require more than a good soldier. They require a wise leader," Biden said. "A leader who can deliver change. The change that everybody knows we need."

The Delaware senator told the convention he'd learned a lot about Obama by campaigning against him for the party's presidential nomination. Biden was an early dropout in that campaign, quitting after he managed only 1 percent of the vote in Iowa's opening caucuses.

Biden said that in debating Obama, watching him react under pressure, he learned about the strength of the Democratic presidential candidate's mind and his ability to touch and inspire people.

"And I realized he has tapped into the oldest American belief of all: We don't have to accept a situation we cannot bear. We have the power to change it," Biden said.

Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that "our country is less secure and more isolated than at any time in recent history.

"The Bush-McCain foreign policy has dug us into a very deep hole with very few friends to help us climb out," Biden said.

On a timelined withdrawal from the war in Iraq, which McCain rejects, he was wrong and Obama was right, Biden said.

"After six long years, the Bush administration and the Iraqi government are on the verge of setting a date to bring our troops home," he said.

"In the five days since being unveiled as Barack Obama's running mate, Delaware Senator Joe Biden has been somewhat of a forgotten man in all the hoopla surrounding the Democratic convention," said CBSNews.com senior political editor Vaughn Ververs.

"That changed tonight as Biden took his turn in the spotlight, formally accepting his party's vice presidential nomination and serving notice that he's ready and willing to take the fight to the Republican ticket this fall." (Read Ververs' full analysis)

Earlier on the convention floor Wednesday night, former President Clinton pledged to cheering delegates to strongly support Obama's campaign for the White House.

"Barack Obama is ready to lead America and restore American leadership in the world. Ready to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States," Mr. Clinton said. "Barack Obama is ready to be President of the United States." (Bill Clinton's speech:

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Mr. Clinton told the convention Wednesday night that Obama "has a remarkable ability to inspire people." The former president's speech had been eagerly awaited by Democrats in view of his own past criticism of Obama and his ambivalence about the Illinois senator.

He noted that Hillary Rodham Clinton had told the convention Tuesday that she would do everything possible to get Obama elected. Then, Clinton said: "That makes two of us."

"Bill Clinton knows how to make a political speech," said CBS News chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer. "And this was really a classic."

Sen. John Kerry, the party's 2004 nominee, also spoke to the convention delegates. He said Obama's victory shouldn't be a close call. In some of the strongest anti-McCain rhetoric of the convention week, he said his longtime friend is merely masquerading as a maverick. "The candidate who once promised a `contest of ideas' now has nothing left but personal attacks," he said. "How insulting ... how pathetic ... how desperate." (Kerry's speech:

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On Wednesday, Obama claimed a prize never held by a black American as he swept to the Democratic presidential nomination as thousands of national convention delegates stood and cheered his improbable triumph.

Former rival Hillary Clinton asked the convention delegates to make it unanimous "in the spirit of unity, with the goal of victory." And they did, with a roar. (

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Competing chants of "Obama" and "Yes we can" floated up from the convention floor as Obama's victory was sealed.

Clinton's call for Obama to be approved by acclamation - midway through the traditional roll call of the states - was the culmination of a painstaking agreement worked out between the two camps to present a unified front.

"The Clinton and Obama camps orchestrated a roll call that pleased most everyone, upset almost no one and provided an historic moment for the nightly newscasts," said CBSNews.com's Ververs. "It was another attempt by the party to show a united front coming out of this convention, something that looks more possible by the day."

Inside the convention hall, the outcome of the traditional roll call of the states was never in doubt, only its mechanics.

"No matter where we stood at the beginning of this campaign, Democrats stand together today," declared Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, a former Clinton supporter who delivered a nominating speech for Obama.

"We believe passionately in Barack Obama's message of changing the direction of our country," she said.

Clinton formally released her delegates amid shouts of "no," by disappointed supporters earlier in the day. "She doesn't have the right to release us," said Massachusetts delegate Nancy Saboori. "We're not little kids to be told what to do in a half-hour."