Earlier today, Frank Rich said that Mitt Romney should have let Paul Ryan or some other Romney surrogate respond to Joe Biden’s “chains” gaffe since, “Responding with this level of feigned outrage to a Bidenism makes him look like a rich guy who can’t stand the heat, if not a Gingrich-esque crybaby.” Perhaps hoping to avoid the same mistake, today President Obama defended his vice-president in two venues that suggest he doesn’t consider this a matter of high political importance. First, he assured People magazine that he feels, “Joe Biden has been an outstanding vice president.” Later he elaborated on Biden’s point about why we “shouldn’t roll back Wall Street reforms” in a chat with Entertainment Tonight.
Though Biden has already explained that he wasn’t talking about slavery, several Republicans have suggested that he should be dropped from the ticket, including John McCain, who said today that it “might be wise” to replace Biden with Hillary Clinton, though, “It’s not going to happen … If I were Hillary Clinton, I’m not sure I’d want to be on that team.” (Clinton’s reluctance is definitely the only reason this isn’t happening.) People tried to determine whether the president is having second thoughts about his VP, or at least sat him down for a stern talk, but Obama replied, “He is passionate about what’s happening in middle-class families, so I will be talking to him a whole lot about the campaign generally.” He added that he feels everybody understands what Biden meant: “You, consumers, the American people, will be a lot worse off if we repeal these [Wall Street reform] laws as the other side is suggesting.” Obama added, “In no sense was he trying to connote something other than that.”
In his interview with Entertainment Tonight, Obama said Biden was talking about a “substantive issue that the American people should be concerned about,” and the discussion of his phrasing is just “a distraction from what is at stake.” He continued:
“You know the truth of the matter is, again, this is an example of what the American people hear and what the press corps want to focus on are two very different things, so if we’re going to talk about substance, than we should focus on what Joe’s comments meant and what they’re intended to mean, and that is we shouldn’t roll back Wall Street reforms that are making consumers and the economy a lot more secure.”
Okay, that’s all well and good, but what does President Obama think about Jennifer Aniston’s engagement?!