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The last segment of The Rachel Maddow Show on Friday night featured this clip of Vice President Joe Biden offering a eulogy at a memorial service for George McGovern on Thursday night.

People say to me now, and I wonder now, whatever gave you the courage as a 29-year-old kid to announce to the united sates senate against a man who had an 82% favorable rating in a year when we knew it was going to be tough. What gave you the courage to run? Or some thought what made you so fool hardy. The answer, and you girls should know this, was your father; your father. I didn't know him when I announced for the Senate. But I honest to God believed that I could, maybe could, go help him end this war. I honest to God believed that. [break in tape] What people don't realize, had your father not been there; had your father not been in the Senate, so much more blood, so much more treasure would have been wasted. The war would have never ended when it did. It would have never ended how it did. Your father gave courage to people who didn't have the courage to speak up, to finally stand up. Your father stood there and took all of that beating. Your father, who was characterized by these right-wing guys as a coward and unwilling to fight. Your father was a genuine hero. The irony used to make me so angry, so angry, that your father would never speak up and talk about his heroism. Your father had more courage; physical courage in his little finger than 95% of those guys who continued to fight, to fight a a war we shouldn't have fought in the first place. But because he took such a miserable beating, he actually, even though he didn't win that election, he won the end of the war. It would have never ended.
As Rachel Maddow pointed out in her comments after playing that clip, Vice President Joe Biden not only did right by the memory of Senator McGovern, but also demonstrated something that has been central to Biden's political career: "being able to tell incredibly powerful and accessible stories that connect human beings to values and to big political ideas." The segment started with a clip of President Obama talking about having a moral compass. The implication here is that with all the prevarications that have been standard operating procedure from the Romney-Ryan ticket for months, how can voters trust the Republican ticket to do what they say they will do, especially when those promises often change depending on the audience they are talking to at any given time.

Both President Obama and Vice President Biden have demonstrated consistency when it comes to who they are and what they stand for and that their primary objective is and has always been to do what's best for the American people. After reading the news today about how Mitt Romney shared with a Ohio crowd the news item from a right-wing blog about Jeep sending thousands of jobs to China that was totally untrue, I can't help but wonder how anybody think it's a good idea to trust this man to be president.

I searched the Internet for more information (hoping to find a transcript of the entire eulogy) while I waited for the segment to be posted online so I could share it here. To my amazement, there has been very little reporting. After I had just watched the passion with which Vice President Biden had delivered his comments, I don't understand why there is so little coverage. Politico had this small piece:

The pool reports on the vice president's well-received remarks last night, memorializing the late South Dakota Sen. George McGovern:
Biden suddenly began shouting in the church. "Your father gave courage to people who didn't have the courage to speak up," he said, then bringing up McGovern's failed presidential bid in [1972]. "Because he took such a miserable beating, he didn't win the election but he ended the war. ... He transformed my party. ... He is the father of the modern Democratic Party."

That line got him a standing ovation.

As he told his stories, Biden pointed out that he is the thirteenth longest-serving senator in history.

"Ain't that a hell of an indictment," he said to laughs, only to catch himself for saying "hell" in church, with a priest sitting behind him. He quickly turned around and said, "Excuse me," to the priest, and then blessed himself. People laughed the whole way through.

Scenes from a Joe Biden eulogy

UPI had a few more snippets:
"I admired him from the day I became aware of him to the day he died," Biden said, adding McGovern gave him the courage to run for office at age 29 against a candidate whose approval rating stood at 82 percent.

Biden recalled McGovern, in his fight to end the Vietnam War, telling the Senate "this chamber reeks of blood" and saying he was tired of hearing "old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in."

"What incredible political courage and gumption it took to make that speech in the Senate," Biden told a crowd of more than 600 mourners at First United Methodist Church. "He spoke for our soul," Biden said. "I still feel the same way."

Joe Biden remembers George McGovern at S.D. funeral

Finally, there is a more lengthy description of the entire memorial service offered at the New York Daily News:
In a stirring tribute Thursday to former Sen. George McGovern, Vice President Joe Biden hailed the one-time presidential nominee as the "father of the modern Democratic Party" for his forceful stand against the Vietnam War and for helping open the party to more women, young people and minorities.

Biden's 25-minute reflection capped a day of remembrance to the South Dakota icon, who carried his anti-war sentiment to his party's nomination in a 1972 race he would lose in a historic landslide to Republican President Richard Nixon.

Vice President Biden remembers U.S. Sen. George McGovern as 'modern Democratic Party' father

It's disappointing that we only get to watch just a few minutes of Vice President Biden's tribute to Sen. George McGovern. Hopefully, somebody will see the value in posting the entire 25-minute tribute online in the near future.

Direct link to video at MSNBC for those who can't watch embedded videos on an iPad or other device.

Brian Williams: Thank you, Mr. President.

President Obama: Brian I'm going to give you one more minute just to say this.

Brian Williams: Earlier however on Air Force one right when our time was up and the interview was supposed to end the President asked to keep going. He ran through what's become his pitch; his list of principles in the current campaign ad that's airing, but then he also wanted to address how this all must look from the outside.

President Obama: It's funny. One of the things about being on the campaign trail, you're in Air Force one, you're in Marine one, these big motorcades. Michelle jokes that I've got everything but a caboose and a dog sled behind me wherever I'm driving. None of that is the presidency. The presidency is all about who's going to fight for the American people every single day even when you've got to make tough decisions that are unpopular because you have some compass about what this country can do. And during the course of these four years there are all kinds of mistakes that I've made every single day, but my compass has been true and I've focused on what's going to be best for the American people.

Rachel Maddow: That's how Brian Williams' Rock Center interview with President Obama ended yesterday. After spending two days with Brian Williams, the President asked for one more minute with his interviewer, which he never does. He said he wanted to say one more thing. It was that compass idea. The compass idea that President Obama went out of his way to make sure he said there. The idea of the president having a compass that is true. That is basically the idea of character; of integrity. It's the idea of personal authenticity to a way; to an extent. That you know what a person stands for; that you know that person will stand for those things even when it's hard because it is who they truly are. This is more than just being likeable. This is the idea of personal substance. That you can be counted on to do the right thing because you are who you say you are. You are not acting. This is a sort of intangible currency that campaigns are always competing for at every level. But it's particularly so at the end of big races where the people who haven't been persuaded by the more overt arguments and policy differences are the ones who are going to make the final, final decision. At the end of the day, people who have no reason to vote one way or the other will vote for the person they believe in. The person they trust isn't pulling one over on them.

And you know that's what the birtherism thing is about on the right. They keep with that stupid thing because it translates to the President being secretly not what he seems. Right? I mean at the end of this campaign the trust issue is also what the Obama campaign is pressing about Mitt Romney. Not in some sort of creepy pseudo racist birther way, but in more directly just asking people to question whether you really believe this guy stands for anything; whether he seems authentic to you; whether you really trust that he believes what he says. Now they don't get must credit for it, but the Obama-Biden ticket's secret weapon on the issue of authenticity and integrity and unimpeachably being who you purport to be. Their secret in that classic political combat has always been Vice President Joe Biden. The right has tried to make Vice President Biden into a caricature and a joke, but it is instructive I think that he was able to diffuse that totally at the Vice Presidential debate when he said yeah sure make fun of me all you want but I always say what I mean. Which in fact nobody can dispute, Joe Biden really does always say what he means. And when Joe Biden really says what he means, when he really lets loose, it can be a very powerful thing. Watch.

Joe Biden: People say to me now, and I wonder now, whatever gave you the courage as a 29-year-old kid to announce to the united sates senate against a man who had an 82% favorable rating in a year when we knew it was going to be tough. What gave you the courage to run? Or some thought what made you so fool hardy. The answer, and you girls should know this, was your father; your father. I didn't know him when I announced for the Senate. But I honest to God believed that I could, maybe could, go help him end this war. I honest to God believed that. [break in tape] What people don't realize, had your father not been there; had your father not been in the Senate, so much more blood, so much more treasure would have been wasted. The war would have never ended when it did. It would have never ended how it did. Your father gave courage to people who didn't have the courage to speak up, to finally stand up. Your father stood there and took all of that beating. Your father, who was characterized by these right-wing guys as a coward and unwilling to fight. Your father was a genuine hero. The irony used to make me so angry, so angry, that your father would never speak up and talk about his heroism. Your father had more courage; physical courage in his little finger than 95% of those guys who continued to fight, to fight a a war we shouldn't have fought in the first place. But because he took such a miserable beating, he actually, even though he didn't win that election, he won the end of the war. It would have never ended.
That was Vice President Joe Biden offering the eulogy last night for Senator George McGovern, who was a war hero and an anti-war stalwart, and who was the Democratic Party's presidential nominee in 1972. George McGovern died this past weekend at the age of 90. Vice President Joe Biden not only doing right by the memory of Senator McGovern, but in so doing showing what has been central to his political career, which is being able to tell incredibly powerful and accessible stories that connect human beings to values and to big political ideas. That is what Joe Biden has always done as a politician and it what he does now on this campaign, as this campaign becomes more and more every day about that challenge that compass, that issue of authenticity and values.
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