Open mouth, insert foot
Former Vice President Joe Biden has always had the reputation of being gaffe-prone, but his status as President Barack Obama's No. 2 gave him massive cover from the left-leaning national media.
Now that he's only one of two dozen Democratic candidates for president in 2020, his misquotes — and perhaps his age (he would be 78 if inaugurated in 2021) — are catching up with him.
Last week, in one day, he let loose three whoppers.
In the first, he told supporters in Iowa, "We choose truth over facts." The Democratic audience, which did not appear to realize what he said, applauded politely.
In the second, while addressing the Asian and Latino Coalition in Des Moines, Iowa, he said that "poor kids are just as bright and talented as white kids." To cover himself, he quickly added, "wealthy kids, black kids, Asian kids," but the damage was done.
In the third, for the second time in a matter of months, Biden confused former British Prime Minister Theresa May with longtime British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who left office 29 years ago. Talking about President Donald Trump's 2017 misquoted remarks about Charlottesville, he said, "You had people like Margaret Tha—, excuse me. You had people like the leader of the party in the — in Germany. You had Angela Merkel stand up and say how terrible it was."
Earlier in the week, he referred to the mass shooting incidents in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, as "the tragic events in Houston today and also in Michigan the day before."
Biden is currently leading in national polls of Democratic candidates, but his supporters may be getting worried.
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, became at least the third 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to repeat the lie that President Donald Trump in 2017 called white supremacists who had come to Charlottesville, Virginia, over a statue removal "fine people."
"He has given aid and comfort to white supremacists," she said while campaigning in Iowa last week. "He's done the wink and a nod. He has talked about white supremacists as fine people. He's done everything he can to stir up racial conflict and hatred in this country."
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, and former Vice President Joe Biden, before Warren, repeated the lie.
Trump, for those who care about the truth, repeatedly condemned white supremacists after Charlottesville, including in a White House statement. And in a news conference at Trump Tower in New York, he said there were nonviolent protesters on either side of the issue who were "very fine people." He added, "I'm not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists because they should be condemned totally."
Thanks for nothing
Citizens from around the country descended on Baltimore last week to help a city President Donald Trump called a "rodent-infested mess." For 12 hours, they toiled in an area filled with mostly abandoned homes that one participant called "a dump site" and "a wasteland." At least some involved vowed to return monthly to do more cleanup.
It was organized by Scott Presler, a pro-Trump activist.
However, an op-ed in the Baltimore Sun that followed the work, while saying it appreciates "anyone who is willing to roll up their sleeves to help Baltimore," called the action politically motivated, said the group's "presence in Baltimore reinforces the tired image of our failing urban cores" and said people now will re-fill the clean lots, rendering the effort useless.
Spenser Weidman, a lifelong Baltimore resident who participated in the cleanup, said the op-ed was more about "victim-shaming," was "unnecessary" and "negative".
He said he understands the problem won't be fixed in 12 hours but says it was meant to be inspirational.
"Nothing about it was political," Weidman said. "The whole objective was to see Baltimore — is it as bad as Donald Trump said it was — and clean up what we see. If a neighborhood needs help, let's help them."
Popular in NYC
A Siena College poll may answer why New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is running for president — because residents don't want him in NYC.
The poll said President Donald Trump has a higher favorability rate in the state than the mayor, 35%-26%.
The survey of 810 New York voters also found that half of those polled viewed New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo unfavorably, and nearly two-thirds gave him a negative job performance.
"Perhaps Trump can take some solace in the fact that as unpopular as he is in his home state, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is even more unpopular," said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg.
Unfortunately, for the mayor, the presidential run's not been very popular, either. A recent Quinnipiac poll of Democratic and independent voters said fewer than 1% of respondents would vote for him in next year's Democratic presidential primary.