Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Biden's Bittersweet Speech

The Vice-President pinch-hit for his old friend Tim Russert yesterday and scored high on nostalgia.

Replacing the late Meet the Press host as the scheduled graduation speaker at Wake Forest University, Joe Biden recalled their 1970s arrival in Washington from blue-collar families "where we never had to wonder whether or not we were loved...

"We were both raised by parents who had an absolute conviction, an absolute belief in the promise of this country...We grew up in a time when our parents told us, and meant it and believed it, even though they were of modest means, that if we worked hard, played by the rules, did what we were supposed to, loved our country, there wasn’t a single thing we couldn’t do."

Biden seemed to be grieving not only for his lost friend but for an America that is almost unrecognizable after decades of greed and playing fast and loose with "the rules" of good behavior.

In true commencement oratory tradition, the Vice-President overcame nostalgia to pump up the diploma holders, telling them "you're about to graduate into a point in history where everything is going to change no matter what you do, but you can affect the change.”

He urged them to think positively: “Doing nothing, or taking history into our own hands and bending it, bending it in service of a better day. So embrace the moment. Don't shy away from it.”

If they can find jobs.

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