There is no doubt that Vice President Joe Biden is an interesting character. The longtime Senator is not only a heart beat away from the presidency, he also is a close adviser to President Barack Obama, who despite some criticism, has never wavered in his support for his pick for VP.
Despite everything Biden brings to the table, every time he gets in front of a crowd he is watched closely. On many different occasions, Biden has gone off script. He is prone to ramp from the stump in a way that not only shows his deep knowledge, but also leaves him vulnerable to saying some questionable things. It has happened to him twice already in Virginia.
On one occassion Biden told a Virginia crowd that with their help, the Obama/Biden ticket will win "North Carolina". In Danville, Biden went off script while talking about proposed changes to banking regulation by Mitt Romney's campaign. He said that Romney wanted to "unchain Wall Street", before going on to say "They are going to put y'all back in chains." A large portion of the crowd was African American. It forced Biden and the campaign to explain what the Vice President meant and gave republicans another line in their narrative that Biden is gaffe prone.
At no point has the Obama campaign ever made an effort to reduce Biden's role on the stump or manage what he has to say. In some respects it has paid off. Biden's speech at the Democratic National Convention was one of the most watched of the event.
Biden comes to Chesterfield on Tuesday, and Obama National Press Secretary Ben LaBolt told me that it is in this type of environment where the Vice President is at his best.
"He speaks in an unvarnished way that really reaches Virginians and Americans across the country in a special way," LaBolt said. "He is a huge asset for the president and I'd expect to see a lot more of him in the Richmond area before election day."
LaBolt argues that every time Biden strays from the teleprompter, he is winning over voters. Specifically middle class voters a core part of the Obama/Biden constituency.
"That helps the Vice President connect, people know they aren't going to get political talking points from him," said LaBolt. "He knows exactly what is on the line for the middle class in this election."
Expect to hear that exact message to Chesterfield voters on Tuesday. Biden connecting with blue collar voters by using his working class background. The question will be can he make that connection, without giving republicans more fodder to attack him with?
We will have full coverage of the Vice President's visit to Chesterfield on NBC12. We will stream his comments live on NBC12.com. I'll have a live report on NBC12 News at Noon and full recap during our early evening newscasts.
You can see extended clips from our conversation with Ben LaBolt below: