Some called it “The Joe Show.”
As vice president, it was part of Joe Biden's duty to swear in the 34 new senators elected to take office this year. But after the actual ceremony took place Thursday, Biden took the following less-formal photo-op to yuck it up with the senators, their families and onlookers.
"Anybody else want to be sworn in as a senator today?" Biden asked into the watching crowd while waiting for more photos to be snapped. It was just one of many one-liners Biden, a 36-year veteran of the senate, threw out during the ceremony.
As Tom Carper from Delaware, Biden's home state, approached, Biden said, "I don't know this next crowd!"
To one of South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott's very large brothers, Biden, who is known for speaking off-the-cuff, said. "If you need help on your pecs, let me know. Look at that guy, still working out!"
When the toddler daughter of Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz starting crying after Biden picked her up, Biden, smiling, said, "It's a Democrat, I know! But it's okay!"
As David Weigel at Slate
writes, "Biden's 'gaffe-prone nature' is actually evidence of him being a fairly normal, goofy person, with a sense of humor that hits at least 60 percent of the time."
That might be true. But it's also true that some comments Biden made were borderline inappropriate.
"Spread your legs, you're gonna be frisked!" he said to the husband of Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota. "You say that to somebody in North Dakota they think it's a frisk. They think you're in trouble right?" Heitkamp's spouse did not appear totally comfortable.
The bachelor senator from New Jersey, Robert Menendez, had a brunette in a red dress in tow.
Biden said to her, "You are so pretty. God love you. Holy mackerel."
When senators had their mothers with them, Biden called every single one “mom,” and even flirted with a couple. "You've got beautiful eyes, mom," he said to Sen. Deb Fischer's mother.
Talking Points Memo cut the highlights together:
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