The Biden Gaffe Machine: A Running List Of Joe Biden’s Best Slip-Ups

The Biden Gaffe Machine: A Running List Of Joe Biden’s Best Slip-Ups

Biden has done little to shake doubts about his sharpness and age after the first set of Democratic debates in June, during which he appeared forgetful and frail. Some things never change.
Tristan Justice

2020 Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden has done little to shake doubts about his sharpness and age in the race following the first round of Democratic debates in June in which the former vice president appeared forgetful and frail on stage.

Over the weekend, Biden, 76, made several slip-ups in Iowa, likely adding fuel to voter concerns about his age and ability to take on President Donald Trump next fall.

Here’s a running list of Biden’s slip-ups that The Federalist will update throughout the campaign.

Updated Sept. 26, 2019.

Biden Forgets the Name of Merrick Garland

In a Sept. 25 appearance on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” Biden stumbled when talking about the Supreme Court and seemed to have forgotten the name of the last Supreme Court nominee under President Barack Obama.

“Back when, when they were holding up before Trump got elected, they were holding up, uh, um, the nomination of the president put forward for the Supreme Court,” Biden rambled before Jimmy Kimmel jumped in to provide the name.

“Merrick Garland,” Kimmel interjected.

“Merrick Garland, a really fine man,” Biden said.

Biden Refers to Stop & Shop Strike as ‘Rite Aid Strike’

During a Sept. 17 speech at an AFL-CIO event in Philadelphia, Biden spoke about his April visit to Boston to address the Stop & Shop workers strike after contract negotiations broke down, prompting 30,000 workers to walk off their jobs for 11 days. Biden, however, called it the “Rite Aid strike.”

“When I went up to the — there was the Rite Aid strike. I looked out in that parking lot when I was talking with the folks, and I was walking a picket line up in Boston,” Biden said, according to the Boston Herald.

Rite Aid was founded in Biden’s hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania.

‘Make Sure You Have the Record Player On at Night’

Responding to a question about his opposition to reparations for slavery during the third Democratic primary debate in September, Biden pivoted to discussing gaps in education and encouraged teachers and parents to “have the record player on at night.”

“They don’t — they don’t know quite what to do,” Biden said, referring to parents not knowing how to raise their children and then offered some advice. “Play the radio, make sure the television — excuse me, make sure you have the record player on at night. … Make sure that kids hear words.”

Biden Confuses Iraq and Afghanistan

Biden appeared to mix up Iraq and Afghanistan in September’s Democratic debate when talking about his opposition to President Barack Obama’s decision to send an additional 40,000 troops to Afghanistan in 2009.

“The whole purpose of going to Afghanistan was to not have a counterinsurgency, meaning that we’re going to put that country together,” Biden said. “It will not be put together. It’s three different countries. Pakistan owns the three counties — the three provinces in the east. They’re not any part of — the Haqqanis run it.”

Biden’s answer was confusing not only because he used the terms “country,” “county,” and “provinces” interchangeably, but because he was confusing the situation in Afghanistan with Iraq.

Steve Saideman, an expert on Afghanistan at Carleton University, told Vox he found Biden’s answer baffling.

“When talking about Afghanistan and reaching an agreement, I have never heard anyone refer to three regions,” Saideman said. “While federalism will probably play a role, the numbers there are around 30 or so for all of the provinces, not three.”

“Biden might have confused Afghanistan with Iraq,” Saideman added.

In the 2000s, Biden proposed splitting up Iraq into three regions divided among the Sunnis, Shias, and the Kurdish.

Biden Says It’s ‘Absolutely Mindless’ Magazines with Multiple Rounds Have Not Been Banned

Speaking to reporters at a campaign stop in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Biden criticized Trump following another mass shooting in Texas that occurred over Labor Day weekend 2019, killing seven people. Biden called it “absolutely mindless” that firearm magazines with more than one round have not been banned.

The idea that we don’t have elimination of assault type weapons, magazines that can hold multiple bullets in them, it’s absolutely mindless, Biden said, going on to argue that such a ban would not violate the Second Amendment.

Biden Makes Up War Story

On Aug. 29, the Washington Post exposed Biden for fabricating a war story told repeatedly over the course of his tenure as vice president and on the 2020 campaign trail. On the stump, Biden often recounts a trip he made to Afghanistan while serving as vice president, frequently shifting the details of the trip, which the Post reported were demonstrably false. According to the Post, Biden visited the Middle Eastern country in 2008 when he was a senator, not vice president, and got nearly every other major detail of the trip wrong several times.

Biden doubled-down on the story however, rejecting the claims by the Washington Post and standing by his statements regarding the fabricated trip.

‘I’m Not Going Nuts

Biden forgot which building he was speaking in during a stop at Dartmouth College on Aug. 24, in New Hampshire.

“I want to be clear, I’m not going nuts,” Biden told the crowd Friday after stuttering. “I’m not sure whether it was the medical school or where the hell I spoke. But it was on the campus.”

Biden Confuses New Hampshire for Vermont

While speaking to reporters in Keene, New Hampshire on Aug. 24, Biden praised the beauty of Vermont when asked about his impression of the New Hampshire town.

“I love this place. Look, what’s not to like about Vermont in terms of the beauty of it? And what a neat town,” Biden said. This is like a scenic, beautiful town. They mayor’s been a good guy. Everybody has been really friendly. I like Keene a lot.”

Biden Says He Was Vice President During Parkland Massacre

On Aug. 10, Biden claimed he was still vice president during the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which happened on Feb. 14, 2018. Biden, however, had been out of office for more than a year at that point.

“Those kids in Parkland came up to see me when I was vice president,” Biden told reporters in Iowa, according to Bloomberg News.

A campaign official told Bloomberg that Biden meant to refer to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, which occurred in December 2012 and killed 26 people, 20 of whom were children between the ages of 6 and 7.

‘There Are at Least Three’ Genders

A Turning Point USA field staffer confronted Biden in Iowa on Aug. 9, asking him, “How many genders are there?”

“There are at least three,” Biden said, trying to appease the liberal wing of the Democratic Party that has been pushing society to abandon two-gender biology.

The staffer pressed Biden on the question. “What are they?” she inquired.

“Don’t play games with me, kid,” Biden said before grabbing the young staffer’s arm to explain his previous support for gay marriage. “By the way, the first one to come out for marriage was me.”

‘Poor Kids Are Just as Bright as White Kids’

The former vice president said he misspoke when he told the Asian and Latino Coalition in Des Moines, Iowa, on Aug. 8 that “poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.”

“We should challenge students in these schools to have advanced placement programs in these schools,” Biden said. “We have this notion that if you’re poor, you cannot do it. Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.”

As the audience reluctantly began to applaud during the silence, Biden tried to fix his remarks. “Wealthy kids, black kids, Asian kids — no, I really mean it,” Biden said.

‘We Believe in Truth over Facts.’

Biden adopted freshman New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s philosophy on disregarding facts in the name of feelings on Aug. 8 at the opening day of the Iowa State Fair.

“We choose unity over division. We choose science over fiction. We choose truth over facts,” Biden told the receptive crowd at the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox.

Biden’s new ideas regarding facts are in line with the beliefs of Ocasio-Cortez, who has been on record saying facts don’t matter as long as people are morally right.

“There’s a lot of people more concerned about being precisely, factually, and semantically correct than about being morally right,” the New York congresswoman said on CBS’ “60 Minutes” with Anderson Cooper in January.

Biden Misses Locations of Back-to-Back Shootings, Refers to Michigan and Houston

At a California fundraiser on Aug. 4, Biden offered sympathy for victims of back-to-back shootings that occurred earlier in the month. He referred to the shootings that occurred in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, as “tragic events in Houston today and also in Michigan the day before.”

He delivered the remarks at a San Diego fundraiser to a gathering of 75 attendees. San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Lyndsay Winkley, who was a pool reporter for the event, confirmed the mishap.

‘Joe 30330’

During CNN’s prime time presidential debate on July 31, Biden directed voters to “go to Joe 30330,” in what sounded like an attempt to plug his own campaign website during his closing statement, leaving viewers confused.

“This is the United States of America. When we’ve acted together, we have never, never, never been unable to overcome whatever the problem was,” Biden said. “If you agree with me, go to Joe 30330 and help me in this fight.”

When asked the next day what he would have done differently in the debate, Biden addressed the gaffe.

“Instead of saying ‘Joe’ I would have said ‘text,’” Biden told reporters in Detroit. “I was so focused on making the case for Joe, I said ‘Joe,’ and I gave the number. It was text so, you know, I would have changed that.”

Biden Touts Relationships with Segregationist Senators as Examples of Civility

In June, Biden touted his friendly relationships with segregationist senators during his time in the senate as examples of his “civility” and ability to work with others.

“At least there was some civility,” Biden told donors at a fundraiser. “We got things done. We didn’t agree on much of anything. We got things done. We got it finished.”

Biden specifically referenced Sens. James Eastland, D-Miss., and Herman Talmadge, D-Ga., to supporters.

The remarks drew immediate backlash from several Democratic rivals who seized on the comments to attack Biden, putting the former senator from Delaware on defense to protect his record on civil rights.

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., used the comments to go after Biden on race during the Miami debate in what became one of the hallmark moments of the night.

“Vice President Biden, I do not believe you are a racist,” Harris said, standing right next to him. “I also believe — and it’s personal, and it was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country. It was not only that, but you also worked with them to oppose busing.”

Harris’ support doubled in post-debate polls while Biden’s sank. Biden, however, comfortably maintained his front-runner status in the race.

Biden Tells Paraplegic State Senator To Stand Up

At a fall 2008 campaign rally in Missouri, Biden told state Sen. Chuck Graham to stand up for the entire audience. Graham, however, is paralyzed from a car accident and sits in a wheelchair.

“I’m told Chuck Graham, state senator, is here. Stand up, Chuck, let ’em see you,” Biden said before realizing Graham was confined to a chair. “Oh, God love you. What am I talking about? I’ll tell you what, you’re making everybody else stand up, though, pal.”

Biden then urged the audience to “stand up for Chuck.”

Biden Calls Obama First Mainstream African American Who Is ‘Articulate’ and ‘Clean’

On the same day Biden filed official paperwork for his 2008 presidential campaign, he raised eyebrows when he called then-Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., the first mainstream African American that is “articulate” and “clean.”

“You got the first mainstream African American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” Biden told The New York Observer. “I mean, that’s a storybook.”

Biden immediately apologized for his remarks. “I deeply regret any offense my remark in the New York Observer might have caused anyone. That was not my intent and I expressed that to Sen. Obama,” Biden said in a statement, later telling reporters that his comments were being taken out of context.

‘You Can’t Go to a 7-11 or Dunkin’ Donuts Unless You Have an Indian Accent’

In the summer of 2006, then-Sen. Biden of Delaware remarked about the growing Indian population in the state on C-SPAN’s “Road to the White House,” when speaking with an Indian supporter.

“In Delaware, the largest growth of population is Indian Americans, moving from India. You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent,” Biden said. “I’m not joking.”

A Biden spokesperson told the Associated Press that “the point Senator Biden was making is that there has been a vibrant Indian-American community in Delaware for decades.”

Tristan Justice is a staff writer at The Federalist focusing on the 2020 presidential campaigns. Follow him on Twitter at @JusticeTristan or contact him at [email protected]

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