Opinion: Joe Biden update: He calls some fellow Democrats ‘turkeys’

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(UPDATE: An update on Biden’s schedule has been added to the end of this item.)

Vice President Joe Biden did not need Air Force Two Thursday night to travel across the Potomac River to McLean, Va., to the home of former Democratic Virginia Gov. and Sen. Chuck Robb.

It was, of course, a fundraiser, designed to help finance three freshman Democratic House candidates -- Glenn Nye, Gerry Connolly and Tom Perriello -- in their challenging reelection races 13 months from now in what once was a predictably GOP state.

Robb himself did not speak at the event. His wife, Lynda, daughter of President Lyndon B. Johnson, introduced the trio of representatives.

But it looks like Joltin’ Joe stepped in something again, rhetorically speaking.

About 100 supporters had paid $1,000 each to gather in the open-air pool house where Biden spoke.


‘I don’t have to tell you that you’re in a very competitive state,” the vice president said, according to the press pool notes. “You got some tough votes coming up.”

Biden called the three men “independent minded” and “damn competent,” adding, however, that they were all united on core Democratic Party themes, including energy policy and healthcare.

“These guys are smart, ‘Biden asserted. ‘Some of the guys Chuck [Robb] and I have campaigned for are turkeys. Not all Democrats are created equal, while most Republicans are.”

The voluble Biden has a reputation for sometimes getting carried away in remarks, as refreshingly candid though they may be to some non-administration ears. Last fall at one gathering, a shirt-sleeved Biden paced the stage with a microphone and said Hillary Clinton would have been a better running-mate choice for Barack Obama to make, a gaffe that prompted the campaign to end most of Biden’s media interviews then and there.

GOP candidates may also have some fun in coming months speculating to partisan crowds which Democrats the vice president had in mind as small-minded birds.

Biden became a U.S. senator way back when the 48-year-old Obama was a sixth-grader. And ran for the presidency himself twice. So he’s campaigned with and for many Democratic politicians over all these years.

Perhaps understandably, on Thursday night the vice president did not proceed to list which fellow Democrats that he’s campaigned who are the turkeys and which are the smart ones. And presumably Biden did not intend to imply that most Republicans are smart.

But he might be asked about all that in coming days by the media -- or even White House folks. And many fans of politics may be trying to guess which Democrats Biden had in mind when he likened them to those tasty but dim birds.

Obama was in Pittsburgh overnight as host for the G-20 summit and protests. He’ll return to the White House this evening.

Biden is off to Georgia (the American one) this morning to briefly watch floodwaters. He’ll return to Washington in the afternoon for what has become one of his frequent duties, swearing someone in. Before heading for Delaware, Biden will administer the oath to Paul Kirk. He’s the senate replacement for the late Ted Kennedy. Kirk was just named to that spot Thursday morning by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.

(UPDATE: 4:44 p.m. The vice president’s weekend schedule has just been released. Here it is: ‘Vice President Biden will be in Wilmington, Delaware on Saturday and Sunday. There are no public events scheduled.’)

-- Andrew Malcolm

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