Barack Obama and Joe Biden became running mates five days ago, but it wasn’t until Wednesday night that they became a ticket. There was the official nominating procedure, of course, but there was also a spiritual hurdle: moving past the Clintons.

Hillary Clinton did her part Tuesday night, making a full-throated pitch to her supporters, and then on Wednesday Bill Clinton did his. He praised Obama relentlessly and took care of the one omission from his wife’s performance the night before: Calling on his experience during eight years in the White House, Clinton vouched that Obama was ready to be commander in chief. The only way he could have endorsed Obama more enthusiastically is if he’d kissed him.

After Clinton, there wasn’t much oxygen in the room for Joe Biden. But he didn’t need to deliver the most beautiful speech. That’s not his job. His job is to use his quirky approachability to introduce Obama to voters who have been skeptical about him. A guy named Barack needs a guy named Joe as his running mate. (In political-speak, they call this being the validator.)

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