SIOUX CITY, Iowa, 6:09 p.m. – Delaware Senator Joe Biden is not happy with President George W. Bush.

“This president has done more to harm our national defense than any president in modern history,” Biden declares as he paces before an audience of mostly senior citizens at the Boys and Girls Home.

It was to be one of many jabs the 65-year-old senator threw at the sitting president during the course of a one-hour port of call. Biden also lashed out at Bush’s mishandling of the post-September 11th moment, accusing the president of dividing the world in a moment of grief rather than uniting it. Energy policy also fell under Biden’s harsh gaze, as he attacked current levels of alternative-energy funding and laid out a plan to raise taxes on individuals making more than $435,000 a year to fund investment in alternative energy.

But it was style more than substance that set the Biden stump apart from others – for me, at least. Biden ditched the podium after minute four of the speech, opting instead to pace in front of the assembled crowd of about 150. Time after time, he paused to lecture a voter like a stern schoolmaster, explaining just how dangerously unstable the status quo is and talking about the need for someone to “right the ship.” Biden is a man not afraid to raise his voice, not afraid to show the passion beneath the policy positions he espouses. At times it can come across as patronizing or frustrated, at others as imminently necessary.

Biden speaks

Delaware Senator Joe Biden talks with supporters at an event at the Boys and Girls Home in Sioux City, IA.

Zack Abrahamson