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EDITORIAL: Biden’s big mouth

- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 23, 2008

"Say it ain't so Joe" was one of the more popular catch phrases played around the world, after Gov. Sarah Palin chided her opponent, Joe Biden, during this month's vice-presidential debate. We're revising the refrain in light of Mr. Biden's most recent faux pas.

In an interview with Mike Memoli of NBC over the weekend, Mr. Biden made a major gaffe that wasn't just a blunder but seems to further undermine the credibility of his running mate, Barack Obama, and possibly opens a door to terrorists or other enemies of this country.

"It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking ... Watch, we're gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy ... As a student of history and having served with seven presidents, I guarantee you it's gonna happen. I can give you at least four or five scenarios from where it might originate. And he's gonna need help ... to stand with him, because it's not going to be apparent that we're right," said Mr. Biden.

Why Mr. Biden chose to make a statement that bangs so hard on Mr. Obama's weaknesses is anyone's guess. That most of the major media outlets have downplayed it and given Mr. Biden a pass is egregious.

Aside from the implications in his statement, it's not the first time Mr. Biden has put his foot in his mouth.

Who can forget his comments about Indian Americans? "You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I'm not joking," Mr. Biden said two years ago during his own campaign for president. Last year Mr. Biden insulted African-Americans in a half-hearted attempt to pay Mr. Obama a compliment: "[T]he first mainstream African American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man," he said. Each time, Democrats and the media for the most part wrote off his remarks as part of his "loquacious" personality.

Imagine, however, if Mrs. Palin had said the same. Headlines would read: "Palin scares voters with war talk!" or "McCain-Palin wish for another terrorist attack!"

Mr. Biden may have been attempting to toot his own horn and offering to be the one to "help" when this attack happens - since he is the experienced senator who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Mr. Biden may have thought he was "reassuring" voters with his comments. Mr. Obama yesterday defended Mr. Biden, stating that he "often engages in rhetorical flourishes." In reality, the Delaware senator re-emphasized that Mr. Obama is a foreign-affairs novice whose inexperience could invite trouble. But most of the mainstream media could care less.