Joe Biden is on "The Daily Show" tonight, and Jon Stewart confronts him with his dreadful quote about Barack Obama: "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy."
(I wrote about the quote earlier today. And Best of the Web wrote about it here and connected it to my earlier post suggesting that there was racism implicit in the excessive praise we've been hearing for Obama.)
So how does Biden deal with it? He smiles very broadly (while audience members boo), then says: "Well, let me tell you something. I spoke to Barack today...." Stewart butts in: "I bet you did." Another big, toothy smile from Joe, and then: "I also spoke to Jesse and Al Sharpton and uh..." Stewart butts in again: "And Michael Jordan and anybody you could get your hands on. The Jackson 5. Who else?" Biden: "Michael didn't call me. Look, what I was attempting to be was not very artfully [sic] was complimentary. This is an incredible guy. This is a phenomenon. This guy is... And look, the other part of this thing is... I... The word that got me in trouble is using the word 'clean.' I should have said 'fresh.' What I meant is he's got new ideas. He a new guy on the block. And... it's not workin', right?"
Oh, man, is that not workin' out. No one says "clean" to mean "fresh" in the sense of new ideas! It's like they took out the thesaurus and looked up "clean" to fish around for other words that he could say he meant. Yeah, "fresh" is a substitute for "clean" maybe in some ad for soap or some feminine hygiene product. But no one stumbles into "clean" when they're going for "fresh ideas." And there's no "clean guy on the block."
Stewart does a bit where he repunctuates the quote, but it's not too clever. Biden does that smile again and kids "That's what I meant to say." Stewart asks if he feels like that guy in the Maxell ad:
And Biden says "I kinda did," and then "It reminded me: Welcome back to presidential politics" -- as if the response he got was somehow exaggerated and unfair.
How hopelessly inept! Ironically, the message he wanted to get out in his interview was that Bush is hopelessly inept and the next President must be someone with the sort of practiced competence that you aren't going to find in Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, that you'll have to come to Joe Biden for. What a joke!