Ohio Daily Blog

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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Biden Inserts Foot in Mouth

How bad is this? In an interview in the New York Observer today, Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) says of presidential rival Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), before going on to criticize him for lack of experience:
“I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” he said. “I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”
Even at first blush it seems patronizing, in a way that sets off alarm bells in a comment by a white about a person of color. When you think about it, however, it gets worse. Is Biden implying that most African Americans lack those qualities, thus making Obama distinctive? Is he saying that past African American candidates (e.g., former Sen. Carol Mosely Braun (D-IL), Rev. Jesse Jackson (D-IL), Rev. Al Sharpton (D-NY)) are dumb, dirty, and/or bad-looking? (Or perhaps, as acknowledged in this post on DailyKos just now, that those candidates weren't "mainstream"?)

Very troubling comment.

UPDATE: Forgot about Alan Keyes (R-?) and Shirley Chisholm (D-NY).

2nd UPDATE: Lots of discussion in the blogs. Atrios thinks we've just seen the shortest presidential run ever. Will Bunch reminds us that Biden appeared to brag about how he can win southern states because he is from a "slave state" ... check out the video here. I like Biden's resume, but nobody who commits serial acts of racial insensitivity deserves to win.

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At February 1, 2007 4:06 PM , Bev Campbell said...

Respectfully, I do believe that we possibly "hang" on every word and particularly words that divide. If you listened to the entire dialogue where Sen. Biden's gaffe appeared, you would see that there was no ill intent whatsoever. Occassionally, we all say things that are less than brilliant or visionary. Joe Biden has more foreign affairs experience than any other candidate as well as the respect of the most of the world leaders - not an insignificant qualification with the problems that the US currently faces.

If we continue to put so much pressure on every word that a candidate uses, I fear we may have no candidates who will run for anything! More importantly, I would much rather have a president who occassionally says something stupid than a president who routinely DOES stupid things .

At February 1, 2007 4:18 PM , Jeff said...

Thanks for this excellent comment, Bev. I absolutely agree that the occasional stupid comment is far preferable to routinely stupid actions!

Biden is indeed strong on foreign affairs. He will make an excellent Secretary of State for President Clinton (or Edwards)!


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