(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — Vice President Joe Biden passionately pushed out his now-famous, bumper-sticker catchphrase at the Democratic National Convention Thursday night: “Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive!”
In a speech that had Democrats on the edge of their seats, wondering if the gaffe-prone vice president would make another embarrassing blunder, Biden stayed relatively close to his prepared remarks.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I’m here to tell you what I think you already know, that, I watch it up close, bravery resides in the heart of Barack Obama and, time and time again, I witnessed him summon it,” Biden said. “This man has courage in his soul, compassion in his heart and a spine of steel, and because of all the actions he took, because of the calls he made, because of the determination of American workers and the unparalleled bravery of our special forces, we can now proudly say what you’ve heard me say the past six months.”
WATCH Biden’s full speech:
He then delivered the now-familiar line: “Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive!”
In more frank terms than first lady Michelle Obama or former President Bill Clinton, Biden contrasted Mitt Romney’s upbringing with Obama’s and his own. Both his and Romney’s fathers worked in the automobile industry.
“I’m sure he grew up loving cars as much as I did,” Biden said. “But what I don’t understand, what I don’t think he understood, I don’t think he understood that saving the automobile worker, saving the industry, what it meant to all of America.”
Biden said Romney saw the auto bailout “the Bain way … in terms of balance sheets and write-offs.”
He cast Romney as out of touch with the American worker.
The video shown before Biden’s speech depicted those Americans Biden sought to distance from the Republican presidential nominee — construction workers, electricians and health care workers — all part of Biden’s connection to the middle class. The starting sequence appeared to be through the window of a train — a throwback to Biden’s love of the locomotive industry. He has repeatedly said on the campaign trail that he has taken Amtrak between Delaware and Washington, D.C., more than 7,000 times.
Throughout his speech, Biden cast himself as Obama’s sidekick.
“One of the things I learned about Barack is the enormity of his heart. And I think he learned about me the depth of my loyalty to him,” Biden said, pausing for applause. “And there’s another thing, another thing that has bound us together these past four years. We had a pretty good idea what all those families, all you Americans in trouble were going through, in part because our own families had gone through similar struggles.”
Biden’s son, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, who spoke at the convention earlier in the day, is an Iraq war veteran. At the end of his speech, Biden reiterated the Obama campaign’s commitment to supporting the troops.
“The only truly sacred obligation we have is to prepare those who we send to war and care for them when they come home from war,” Biden said. “I want to acknowledge, as we should every night, the incredible debt we owe to the families of those 6,473 fallen angels and those 49,746 wounded, thousands critically, thousands who will need our help for the rest of their lives. Folks…we must never, ever forget their sacrifice and always keep them in our care and in our prayers.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Tom LoBianco, CNN
Stephen Collinson, CNN
Evan Perez and Pamela Brown, CNN