Vice President Joe Biden veered into potentially perilous political terrain Thursday, seeming to adopt a foreign accent while imitating a call center employee during a trip to New Hampshire.
Biden’s linguistic excursion was brief, but enough to catch the attention of Republican opposition researchers who circulated a video clip to reporters (see below).
The purpose of his trip to a plant in Rochester was to highlight a theme of President Obama’s State of the Union address: the importance of expanding domestic manufacturing.
Doing so would reverse the trend of jobs being outsourced to companies based overseas, which led the vice president to refer to call centers.
“How many times did you get the call,” Biden asked, before taking on an accent to say, “I’d like to talk to you about your ... " just as quickly he finished the thought in his normal voice, " ... credit card.”
He also joked about a television ad campaign for the Discover credit card that mimics a fictional rival card company’s foreign-based telephone help desk, manned by a bearded man named “Peggy” (Biden got the name wrong, guessing Nancy).
One account of the incident from the conservative Weekly Standard said Biden was employing an Indian accent, and likens it to another remark from Biden as a presidential candidate years ago about how many Indian-Americans in his state were employed at 7-Elevens and Dunkin’ Donuts.
New York Magazine suggested Biden may have trying a brief Russian-style accent akin to the “Peggy” ads.
For the minor stir it called, some are overlooking a more significant gaffe from the vice president.
During a Q&A session Biden conducted via Twitter after the event, he was asked which team he was rooting for in the Super Bowl next week.
The Eagles, next year, he said first. “Love Brady, think @Giants.”
Diplomatic as he may have tried to be, New Hampshire is deep in the heart of Patriots Nation. And it’s the second time he would have picked the Giants on the turf of the rival team. In San Francisco a week earlier, he mistakenly referred to the Giants as being “on their way to the Super Bowl” days before they played the hometown 49ers.
Though in retrospect, he was right.