Published June 27, 2010
-- On June 25, 2010,
Vice President Biden was visiting a custard shop outside Milwaukee when the shop manager told him his dessert would be on the house if he lowered taxes.
"Don't worry, it's on us," the manager said. "Lower our taxes and we'll call it even."
Biden replied: "Why don't you say something nice instead of being a smartass all the time?"
-- On May 6, 2010,
Vice President Biden said in an address to the European Parliament in Belgium that Brussels could be the "capital of the free world."
The comment came at the top of a speech used to discuss the threats of nuclear proliferation, climate change and international terrorism.
"As you probably know, some American politicians and American journalists refer to Washington, D.C. as the 'capital of the free world,'" Biden said. "But it seems to me that in this great city, which boasts 1,000 years of history and which serves as the capital of Belgium, the home of the European Union, and the headquarters for NATO, this city has its own legitimate claim to that title."
-- On March 23, 2010,
Biden stated the obvious when he told President Obama, "This is a big f---ing deal," during the bill-signing ceremony for the health insurance overhaul. Biden apparently thought the exchange was private, but the television microphones picked it up. The president must have realized what happened -- Biden later said in an interview that Obama was "laughing like the devil" after the event.
-- On March 17, 2010,
Biden used a St. Patrick's Day celebration at the White House to honor the memory of the Irish prime minister's mother -- though she was alive.
"God rest her soul," Biden said as he introduced Brian Cowen and Obama. Biden quickly corrected his mistake, noting that Cowen's father, not mother, was dead.
"Wait ... your mom's still, your mom is still alive. It was your dad (who) passed. God bless her soul. I gotta get this straight," Biden said.
-- On July 16, 2009,
Biden gave a blunt summation of the administration's approach to stimulus spending.
"People, when I say that, look at me and say, 'What are you talking about, Joe? You're telling me we have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt?" he said at a stop in Virginia. "The answer is yes."
-- On July 5, 2009,
in an interview with ABC's "This Week," Biden conceded that the White House team "misread how bad the economy was." His confession came as unemployment hit 9.5 percent, despite the administration's insistence that it would hold to 8 percent with the stimulus plan.
-- On April 30, 2009,
Biden gave advice on dealing with swine flu that seemed to contradict President Obama's warning not to panic. Speaking on NBC's "Today," Biden, a longtime Amtrak rider who has commuted for decades daily from Delaware to Washington, D.C., said he wouldn't advise family necessarily against going to Mexico, the source of the H1N1 outbreak, but he wouldn't tell them to get into any small area like a subway car, automobile, classroom or airplane.
"I would tell members of my family, and I have, I wouldn't go anywhere in confined places right now," Biden said. "It's not that its going to Mexico, it's that you are in a confined aircraft when one person sneezes, it goes everywhere through the aircraft. That's me."
-- On March 13, 2009,
Biden addressed a former Senate colleague by saying, "An hour late, oh give me a f----ing break," after he arrived on Amtrak at Union Station in Washington, D.C. The vice president's expletive was caught on a live microphone.
-- During a Feb. 25, 2009,
interview on CBS' "Early Show," Biden encouraged viewers to visit a government-run Web site that tracks stimulus spending. When asked for the site's web address, Biden could not remember the site's "number."
"You know, I'm embarrassed. Do you know the Web site number?" he asked an aide standing out of view. "I should have it in front of me and I don't. I'm actually embarrassed."
-- At a Jan. 30, 2009,
swearing-in ceremony of senior White House staff, Biden mocked Chief Justice John Roberts for his presidential oath blunder on Inauguration Day.
"Am I doing this again?" Biden said, after Obama asked him to administer the oath. When Biden was told the swearing-in was for senior staff -- and not cabinet members -- the vice president quipped, "My memory is not as good as Justice Roberts," prompting a stern nudge from Obama.
-- On Inauguration Day, Jan. 20 2009,
Biden misspoke when he told a cheering crowd of supporters, "Jill and I had the great honor of standing on that stage, looking across at one of the great justices, Justice Stewart." Justice John Paul Stevens -- not Stewart -- swore Biden in as vice president.
-- When criticizing former GOP nominee John McCain in Athens, Ohio, on Oct. 15, 2008, Biden said, "Look, John's last-minute economic plan does nothing to tackle the number-one job facing the middle class, and it happens to be, as Barack says, a three-letter word: jobs. J-O-B-S, jobs."
-- In a Sept. 22, 2008,
CBS interview, Biden misspoke when he said Franklin D. Roosevelt was president when the stock market crashed in 1929.
"When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed. He said, 'Look, here's what happened," he said.
Herbert Hoover -- not Roosevelt -- was president in 1929, and television had not yet been invented in 1929.
-- During a Sept. 12, 2008,
speech in Columbia, Mo., Biden called for Missouri State Sen. Chuck Graham, who is wheelchair-bound, to "stand up."
"Oh, God love ya," Biden said, after realizing his mistake. "What am I talking about?"
-- At a Sept. 10, 2008,
town hall meeting in Nashua, N.H., Biden said, "Hillary Clinton is as qualified or more qualified than I am to be vice president of the United States of America. Quite frankly, it might have been a better pick than me."
-- Biden mistakenly referred to Alaska governor Sarah Palin as the "lieutenant governor" of her state during a town hall meeting on Sept. 4, 2008 at George Mason University in Manassas, Va.
"I heard a very, by the way I mean this sincerely, a very strong and a very good political speech from a lieutenant governor of Alaska who I think is going to be very formidable, very formidable not only in the campaign but in the debate," Biden said.
-- Biden said he was running for president -- not vice president -- during a Sept. 1, 2008, roundtable discussion in Scranton, Pa.
"Today is the moment for me as a United States senator running for president to put aside the national politics and focus on what's happening down there," Biden said.
-- Biden referred to John McCain as "George" during his vice presidential acceptance speech on Aug. 27, 2008, at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Co. "Freudian slip, folks, Freudian slip," he explained.
-- Biden confused army brigades with battalions when speaking about Obama's plan for sending troops to Afghanistan.
"Or should we trust Barack Obama, who more than a year ago called for sending two additional combat brigades to Afghanistan?"
-- During his first campaign rally with Obama as his vice presidential running mate on Aug. 23, 2008, Biden introduced Obama by saying, "A man I'm proud to call my friend. A man who will be the next President of the United States -- Barack America!"
-- On Jan. 31, 2007 --
the day Biden announced his presidential bid -- the Delaware Senator was roundly criticized for calling Obama "the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.
I mean, that's a storybook, man."