Joe’s Gaffe: Say It Ain’t So

There is no question that when Barack Obama sat down and listed out the pros and cons of picking Joe Biden as his running mate, at the top of the “cons” he wrote: “has a propensity for making hard to explain gaffes.” It was always part of the package with Joe, and everybody knew it.

Most of Biden’s gaffes thus far – from putting FDR years out of place on the not-yet-invented boob tube to his rope line riff on clean coal in Pennsylvania – have been more or less easily waved away by the Obama campaign by saying, “well, that’s just Joe being Joe.”

But Biden’s latest gaffe, caught on audio tape, has presented the Obama campaign with a bit of a problem. Given the seriousness of the subject matter – national security – and the explicitness with which Biden framed his remarks, the Obama campaign can’t simply wave this one away as Joe being Joe. And saying their VP was temporarily out of his gourd doesn’t work either.

But the Obama campaign has come up with a third way: deny that Biden said what he said. Here is Obama spokesperson Stephanie Cutter in an interview with Jane Skinner of Fox News this afternoon:

Skinner: You’re saying that I’m misunderstanding what he said –

Cutter: Yes I am.

Skinner: Joe Biden didn’t say that somebody would generate this specifically to test a brand new president who doesn’t have a lot of experience. That’s not what he meant?

Cutter: Well, he, no, what he [Biden] said was, either president is going to be tested…We are saying, as a campaign, let me make this clear, that Joe Biden was saying that whoever is president is going to be tested in the first six months of their presidency because of the world we are living in.

Well, no. For the record, here is what Biden said in Seattle:

“And here’s the point I want to make. Mark my words. Mark my words. It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We’re about to elect a brilliant 47-year old senator president of the United States of America. Remember I said it standing here if you don’t remember anything else I said. Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.”

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