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Biden the Bigot Redux

Thursday, February 1, 2007, 21:51 EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

The Washington Post today is reporting as follows about what U.S. Sen. Joe Biden said about his Senate colleague and fellow presidential candidate Barack Obama:

In the interview, Biden described Obama as "the first mainstream African American [presidential candidate] who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man."

That sounds a little nicer than what was reported yesterday, but it isn’t what Biden said. His actual quote did not include the words "presidential candidate"—or any other words—where the Post has inserted them. If the remark was preceded by a reference to presidential candidates, such that whatever followed could reasonably be taken in that context, then the newspaper should report the context. I have seen no such context presented in the many news stories and blogs I’ve read. For that matter, Biden himself had plenty of opportunities yesterday to make clear if that was the case and, as far as I have seen reported, failed to do so. It isn’t the responsibility or right of the Post to amend Biden’s statement after the fact without substantiation.

Incidentally, the Post also points out that the Obama comment wasn’t Biden’s first racial/ethnic gaffe.

In a videotaped exchange with a supporter last June, he said, "You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin’ Donuts [in Delaware] unless you have a slight Indian accent. I’m not joking."

If I were one of Biden’s political advisors, I’d advise him to keep his mouth shut for the remainder of the campaign.

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