Biden: Restoring Worldview of U.S. Is Next President's "Biggest Responsibility"

(CBS)
From CBS News' Ryan Corsaro:

(WOOSTER, OHIO) - Joe Biden called out for the next president of the United States to seize upon the opportunity to re-establish America's standing as a respected and trusted world leader, saying it would be "the single biggest responsibility."

In his speech before the College of Wooster crowd tonight in Ohio, Biden backed away slightly from the relentless hammering of Sen. John McCain's policies he has committed to in the past few days.

Instead, he changed his focus and tone to a soft and determined heed for voters to elect the leader who would restore trust in America as a role model for foreign nations. He, of course, assured it would be his running mate, Barack Obama.

He asked the nearly 5,000 people in attendance to imagine America as a country "where we lead by the power of our example and not by the example of our power."

Biden called the upcoming presidential election an inflection point – a point where the decision American voters make would "lock us in for a generation" towards a direction of their choosing.

He recalled a story he was told in his early days of the Senate, when President John F. Kennedy sent an envoy to the leader of France, Charles de Gaulle, to warn him of the danger posed in what would become known as the Cuban Missile Crisis.

After listening to the president's message, Biden said that de Gaulle had waved the envoy's offer to view reconnaissance photos of the ships carrying missiles toward Cuba, telling the envoy that he needed only the word of the president of the United States.

Biden then posed the question, "Is there a single world leader who if Condi Rice, who is a good woman, if she sat across from that leader explaining the matter of war and peace that would raise his or her hand and say there's no need, I know the President of the United States and I trust him."

Biden said that while it would take time to restore such a reputation and standing, but that it was an essential task.

"The rest of the world understands, as much as they may resent it, that we are the only genuine catalyst for change. It's not American chauvinism. There is no other nation in the world that on its own can be the vehicle for the kind of change the world is yearning for," said Biden. "Ladies and gentlemen, the opportunity is immense...immense."