Democrats pinning their hopes on Joe Biden just got a big reason to worry.
While the former vice president has long been known as a one-man gaffe machine, his verbal hiccups are generally more embarrassing than harmful (like telling a man in a wheelchair to stand up for applause).
But in commenting on two mass shootings over the weekend, Biden made a slip that should have even the most ardent supporter concerned.
According to the Washington Examiner, Biden took the stage at a fundraiser in San Diego on Sunday referring to “the tragic events in Houston today and also in Michigan the day before.”
Biden was, of course, referring to the Saturday mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, and the early Sunday morning shooting in Dayton, Ohio. While he later corrected himself, according to the Examiner, the damage had been done.
This isn’t the kind of slip up where the audience winces a little and moves on – the kind Biden is famous for (like joking about Indian immigrants owning convenience stores).
This is the kind of mistake that should make listeners seriously wonder if the speaker is entirely conscious of what’s going on.
For Biden to have made one mistake – say confusing Houston and El Paso while getting Ohio right – would have been bad but understandable. Houston and El Paso are nowhere near each other, but at least they’re in the same state. President Donald Trump made a similar slip Monday morning by calling Dayton “Toledo,” according to The HIll.
For him to get both shooting sites wrong, on a day when their stories are dominating news headlines and – presumably – conversations at politically themed events, can’t help but bring up the question of whether the 76-year-old former veep is paying close enough attention.
Plenty of social media users were wondering.
Biden – whose appearances have been carefully managed by his campaign – “owes voters a series of long, probing, detailed interviews that prove that his mind is up to the job,” @jackshafer wrote last week. https://t.co/bZJhK0fYmO
— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) August 5, 2019
I liked him as vp, but it’s time for him to step aside. He doesn’t seem like he’s as “quick” as he used to be. Time to put ego aside, and let others take on trump.
— Kat (@Kat9593) August 5, 2019
And of course, there was some political humor.
If there’s one surefire way to lose Ohio, it’s calling it Michigan.
— Leopold von Shankya (@LShankya) August 5, 2019
The mainstream media practically has a policy of ignoring dumb comments that come out of Democratic mouths (Obama’s “57 states” blunder from 2008, for instance) but it really should pay attention to signs that the Democratic front-running for the presidential nomination isn’t entirely focused on the affairs of the country he wants to lead.
According to the Examiner, Biden himself — unwittingly — gave the exact reason his mistake mattered.
“You know what, the president’s words have meaning, no matter who he or she is,” Biden said Sunday, the Examiner reported. “They are the face of America.”
Democrats, liberals and sometimes Republicans and conservatives might not like what Trump says, but even when there’s a slip-up like the one Monday morning, there’s never serious doubt that he knows what he’s saying.
A gaffe like Sunday’s has to make even liberals wonder if they can say the same thing about Joe Biden.
If they’re not worrying now, they should be.
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