• More Denver buzz: Joe Biden, the scrappy, Irish-Catholic kid from Scranton, is on the ticket because Obama is running weak among scrappy Irish-Catholics. Strike up the band: Scrappy Days Are Here Again!

• But that's not enough. Forget whether Obama was a Muslim or about his devotion to Jeremiah Wright. Not only must Obama become a Catholic, he must become a scrappy Irish-Catholic, preferably in Scranton. In other words, Joe Biden can't do all the scrappiness, Irishness and Scrantonness.

• But here's where it gets problematical. If Obama and Biden get too Catholic, Irish and scrappy — they'll tick off the Jews.

By Mark Russell

Tribune Media Services