Leaving aside all the necessary gaming of how this affects the election, what does the selection of Biden tell us about Obama's potential decision-making as president? This is the second big decision of the national campaign (the first Bumperemmanueldunandgetty was opting out of public financing). I'd say it suggests a serious, adult attitude toward the enormous burden that the next presidency will be, especially in foreign policy.

We've learned how disastrous a vice-president can be, in the current administration. No vice-president in American history has done as much damage to national security, constitutional integrity and the moral standing of the United States as Dick Cheney. Biden has aspects of the Cheney pick - he's older, more seasoned and more adept at foreign policy than Obama. But no one imagines that Obama would delegate - and all but abdicate - critical decisions to Biden the way Bush has to Cheney.

Nonetheless, it seems obvious that Biden speaks his mind frankly, and would have real heft and independence in the office. He knows enough that foreign leaders call him in international crises. That reassures me, as we face some grim days in the coming years in the war on terror.

This strikes me, in other words, as a pick for a candidate who is already very serious about governing - and making calls that forgo a campaign buzz for the sake of the country if he wins. Putting country first, you might say.

The more I think about it, the more I like it.

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