CBSN

Biden, Pointed and Off Script, Gets Loose and Loud

(CBS)
From CBS News' Ryan Corsaro:

(LANGHORNE, PA.) - "I know that Joe and Barack are going to work to end this war in Iraq!" yelled Jill Biden to a crowd of over a thousand in an oven-temperature auditorium.

Dressed in a buttercup-yellow skirt suit, Biden introduced her husband to a sea of waving palms and clapping hands.

Joe Biden's town hall event was admittedly off-script at times and intermittently sentimental, though he allowed himself bursts of rage as he railed against Republicans.

"Last night we heard my friend, and I really mean this sincerely…" he said calmly.

"John McCain is my friend. I know of no man or woman I've met that has more personal courage than John McCain."

Biden went at length to describe the closeness between McCain and his family, saying that when traveling together once, he came upon his spouse and McCain – a story he said his wife would not want him to tell.

"Jill and John are standing up on the tables, drinking Ouzo, dancing, and I'm thinking, I've never trusted him since then, Jillie!"

All joking aside, Biden insisted, "My argument is not with John the man, my argument is with John's ideas."

Reflecting on the Republican National Convention he was able to catch on television, Biden began a slow boil.

"It's not so much of what I heard, when I heard John speak last night, or what I heard when the Governor of Alaska speak the night before," said Biden, but more of what he did not hear – "the middle class".

"The silence of the Republican party was deafening -- was deafening!" he bellowed. "My God."

Biden said all he did hear was "boy she's good," referring to Gov. Palin, and "how a left jab can be stuck pretty nice."

"They had great quips," Biden said of the Republicans, which reminded him of teasing schoolchildren.

"That's what this reminded me of. Oh I love that dress, is that your mother's? You know what I'm talking about."

Talking directly to middle-class voters, Biden asked, "How many of you sweated bullets figuring out how they're going to get tuition so they can start in August?" asked Biden, pointing his finger. "That's what middle class people think about!"

On the day new unemployment figures were released, Biden made a focus of his speech on labor in America.

"We have lost 604,000 jobs in America this calendar year," said Biden, pointing out that 6.1 percent of the American workforce being idle.

For those citizens recently added to the figure, Biden said, "It's not merely a lost job. It's a lost sense of identity that occurs."

Getting into specifics, Biden promised that an Obama administration would give families making $75,000 a year or less a tax rebate to help pay for the rising costs of gas.

"People say that's gimmicky…[but] you need help now. We're going to give you a thousand dollars now."

Standing in a high school gymnasium, Biden said "any country that out-teaches us will out-compete us."

"It really is a national security issue, I know it sounds stupid to say that. It really is a national security issue."

Biden's temper flared as he told the crowd that McCain would give $4 billion to oil companies to "explore off-shore drilling."

"[Oil companies] earned six hundred billions dollars…since 2000," shouted Biden. "This isn't theater here. This is real! It makes me angry!"

After several moments of emotion and outrage in his delivery, Biden acknowledged his tone and directness, saying, "I am told I should not say things as straightly as I do."

On the Iraq war, Biden said it was example of Sen. Obama having a sense of good judgement in foreign policy when he pushed for a timetable – one that Biden expects to receive on his desk from the president with the next month as part of an agreement with the Iraqi government. It's a plan he says Obama has been calling for years.

"The only guy that doesn't get it is John McCain. Barack Obama gets it. John McCain doesn't."

The crowd was receptive to Biden's shrieks of disgust and moments of calm inflection. After over an hour in the steamy field house, Biden sensed its time to wrap it up.

"The staff's gonna kill me. The Secret Service's gonna arrest me. By the way, I never had Secret Service before. It's really nice not going through metal detectors anymore. They asked me why I agreed to run for vice president. The plane waits till you get there unless you're getting on with the president, you know?"