Lord love him, Joe Biden just can’t open his mouth without putting his foot in it.
The vice president had jaws dropping Tuesday when he told a racially mixed crowd in Danville, Va., that Mitt Romney’s tax policy would “put y’all back in chains.”
Biden’s defenders were quick to claim that he was responding to a Republican talk about “unshackling” the economy, not alluding to slavery. But Sarah Palin said it was time for President Barack Obama to dump Biden and enlist Hillary Clinton as his running mate. And former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani told CNBC that Biden is “just not very smart.”
“I’ve never seen a vice president that has made as many mistakes, said as many stupid things,” said Giuliani, a former GOP presidential candidate. “I mean, there’s a real fear that if, God forbid, he ever had to be entrusted with the presidency, whether he really has the mental capacity to handle it. I mean, this guy just isn’t bright.”
Apparently Osama bin Laden was thinking along the same lines. Documents found after the terror kingpin was killed in a U.S. raid showed the al-Qaida leader wanted to assassinate Obama – because he thought putting Biden in the Oval Office would plunge America into chaos.
Even when he’s trying to be helpful, poor Joe just can’t help messing up, as when he announced his support for gay marriage in May. Biden’s big mouth forced his boss to endorse same-sex marriages much sooner than Obama had planned.
Here are some of the other Biden boo-boos that have raised eyebrows and unintentional giggles:
Joe’ big f-bomb.
"This is a big f---ing deal!" An open mic caught the vice president uttering these congratulatory words to Obama during the health care law signing ceremony on March 23, 2010.
What do you mean, she’s not dead?
"His mom lived in Long Island for 10 years or so. God rest her soul. And- although, she's – wait – your mom's still, your mom's still alive. Your dad passed. God bless her soul." – Biden talking about the still-living mother of visiting Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen, March 17, 2010.
Keep calm and panic!
"I wouldn't go anywhere in confined places now. … When one person sneezes it goes all the way through the aircraft. That's me. I would not be, at this point, if they had another way of transportation, suggesting they ride the subway." -- Biden, trying to allay public fears about swine flu, in a “Today” show interview, April 30, 2009
Get up, man!
Biden asked Sen. Chuck Graham to stand up to be recognized by the crowd at a rally on Sept. 9, 2008. Apparently, Biden somehow forgot that Graham uses a wheelchair. "Chuck, stand up, let the people see you," said Biden. “Oh, God love ya...What am I talking about?"
You know, the guy who said the oath.
“Jill and I had the great honor of standing on that stage, looking across at one of the great justices, Justice Stewart," Biden said in an apparent reference to Justice John Paul Stevens, who had just sworn him in as vice president, Jan. 20, 2009.
Math isn’t his strong suit.
"If we do everything right, if we do it with absolute certainty, there's still a 30 percent chance we're going to get it wrong." – Biden warning members of the House Democratic caucus that they could face flak for the $900 billion economic stimulus bill, Feb. 6, 2009.
Where’s a crisis when you need one?
"Remember, I said it standing here, if you don't remember anything else I said. Watch, we're going to have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy." —Biden, telling donors at a private fundraiser in Seattle that Barack Obama would likely be tested by an international crisis during his first few months as president, Oct. 20, 2008.
Maybe you should have gone with Hillary
"Hillary Clinton is as qualified or more qualified than I am to be vice president of the United States of America. Let's get that straight. She's a truly close personal friend. She is qualified to be president of the United States of America. She's easily qualified to be vice president of the United States of America. Quite frankly, it might have been a better pick than me. But she's first rate." – Biden praising Obama’a former rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sept. 10, 2008.
Generous - to a fault.
"I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man."
— Biden, being complimentary about fellow Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Jan. 31, 2007.
Equal opportunity offender
"In Delaware, the largest growth of population is Indian-Americans, moving from India. You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I'm not joking.” -- Biden was talking the support he enjoyed among Indian-Americans in a private comment captured on C-SPAN in June 2006.
Stealing someone else’s line
"I started thinking as I was coming over here, Why is it that Joe Biden is the first in his family ever to go to a university?" – Biden during his first presidential run, Aug. 23, 1987. He lifted passages of that speech from a speech by British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock. The plagiarism revelations led Biden to bow out of the race.
Oops, he did it again… and again
By the way, Biden’s “chains” comment wasn’t his only wince-induscing moment Tuesday in Danville. “We can win North Carolina again!” he told a crowd, forgetting that he was in Virginia.
And winding up his speech there, the veep seemed to mock an American Sign Language translator with a series of bizarre hand gestures, saying, “That poor lady, she's gonna have tendonitis by the time she finishes this."
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