Sen. Joe Biden is a reporter’s best friend, a publicity-seeking politician whose constantly-running mouth often runs ahead of often asleep brain.
When word began to circulate that Biden would launch yet another hopeless run for the White House, pools sprang up overnight on how long it would be before he stuck his foot in his mouth.
Everyone knew he would screw up but no one expected it would happen on the day he launched his Presidential campaign.
As Adam Nagourney of The New York Times reports:
In an era of meticulous political choreography, the staging of the kickoff for this presidential candidacy could hardly have gone worse.
Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, who announced his candidacy on Wednesday with the hope that he could ride his foreign policy expertise into contention for the Democratic nomination, instead spent the day struggling to explain his description of Senator Barack Obama, the Illinois Democrat running for president, as Ã¢â‚¬Å“the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The remark, published Wednesday in The New York Observer, left Mr. BidenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s campaign struggling to survive its first hours and injected race more directly into the presidential contest. The day ended, appropriately enough for the way politics is practiced now, with Mr. Biden explaining himself to Jon Stewart on Comedy CentralÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Daily Show.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Earlier, in a decidedly nonpresidential afternoon conference call with reporters that had been intended to announce his candidacy, Mr. Biden, speaking over loud echoes and a blaring television set, said that he had been Ã¢â‚¬Å“quoted accurately.Ã¢â‚¬Â He volunteered that he had called Mr. Obama to express regret that his remarks had been taken Ã¢â‚¬Å“out of context,Ã¢â‚¬Â and that Mr. Obama had assured him he had nothing to explain.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Barack Obama is probably the most exciting candidate that the Democratic or Republican party has produced at least since IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been around,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said, adding: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Call Senator Obama. He knew what I meant by it. The idea was very straightforward and simple. This guy is something brand new that nobody has seen before.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Asked about Mr. BidenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s comments, Mr. Obama said in an interview, Ã¢â‚¬Å“I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t take it personally and I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think he intended to offend.Ã¢â‚¬Â Mr. Obama, who serves with Mr. Biden on the Foreign Relations Committee, added, Ã¢â‚¬Å“But the way he constructed the statement was probably a little unfortunate.Ã¢â‚¬Â
A llttle unfortunate? Here’s what Biden said, as recorded by a New York Observer reporter:
I mean, you’ve got the first sort of mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a story-book, man,
More like a fairy tale, which is what Biden’s Presidential campaign will be. In an earlier Presidential run, Biden ran out of material and stole a speech from British politician Neil Kinnock. Biden’s plagiarism is now used an example in college courses.