By Perry Bacon Jr.
MARIETTA, Ohio — Early in his campaigning as the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, Sen. Joe Biden noted often that John McCain was a longtime Senate colleague and “a friend,” and his rhetoric focused on their differences on policy. Even now, in a speech here today, Biden said, “John McCain is a genuine hero, John McCain deserves our great respect.”
But anyone who has followed Biden’s rhetoric the last few weeks would question whether he truly respects McCain. On the first day of a two-day bus tour through small towns in Ohio, Biden constantly referred to McCain as “mad” and “erratic,” the latter a word supporters of Sen. Barack Obama have constantly evoked since the senator from Arizona suspended his presidential campaign last month over the financial crisis.