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Joe Biden's gaffes drawing wrong kind of attention

Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Wynmoor Village in Coconut Creek, Fla., Friday, March 23, 2012. After four gaffes in two days, Joe Biden's propensity to stumble on the stump has Republicans chortling.
Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Wynmoor Village in Coconut Creek, Fla., Friday, March 23, 2012. After four gaffes in two days, Joe Biden's propensity to stumble on the stump has Republicans chortling.
Luis M. Alvarez, file, Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — Sarah Palin thinks Hillary Clinton should join the Democratic ticket for vice president, replacing Joe Biden, who spent the early part of this week moving from one gaffe to the next.

On Tuesday, Biden told voters in Virginia that, "with you, we can win North Carolina," a comment that suggests that Attorney General Eric Holder might need to rethink his opposition to voter ID laws. That was also the day that Biden told a largely black audience that Republicans were going to "put y'all back in chains."

Then on Wednesday, Biden forgot what century he was in, asking an audience in Blacksburg, Va., "Where is it written that we cannot lead the world in the 20th Century in making automobiles?"

Scott Johnson at Powerline thinks Biden is, metaphorically, a dead man walking. "Will Obama dump him? I think he will, in a heartbeat, if internal polling shows that Ms. Hillary would help him. Obama is a cold guy and Biden has done nothing but embarrass him."

The Weekly Standard pointed to the president's schedule today, which includes meetings with the Vice President and with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

John McCain said on Fox News Wednesday that replacing Biden would be "wise" but predicted it would not happen. “I think it might be wise to do that but it’s not going to happen obviously, for a whole variety of reasons,” McCain said.

“I’m not sure if I were Hillary Clinton I would want to be on that team,” he added. “I think her ambitions frankly are for 2016, and I’m not sure that would enhance that likelihood.”

On CNN, Former Viriginia governor Doug Wilder, a Democrat and an African American, disputed the Obama camp's spin that Biden's chains comments were not racially charged.

"First of all, without question they were appeals to race," Wilder said. "The important thing I got out of this was Biden separated himself from what he accused the people of doing. As a matter of fact, what he said is they are going to do something to y'all, not to me. Not us. So he was still involved with that separate American."

Any inclination in the Obama camp to follow McCain's advice may be dampened by Sarah Palin, who on Tuesday said that he should replace Biden with Hillary, arguing that Obama must find a "diplomatic way of replacing Joe Biden on the ticket with Hillary. And I don't want to throw out that suggestion and have them actually accept the suggestion, because then an Obama-Hillary Clinton ticket would have a darn good chance of winning."

On CNBC, Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani responded to Biden's bad week by calling Biden "dumb," and discounting the "chains" gaffe as par for the course.

“Well, I think if it came from somebody serious maybe we’d get all excited about it. But I think the Vice President of the United States has become a laugh line on late night television. I’ve never seen a vice president that has made as many mistakes, said as many stupid things. I mean there’s a real fear if, God forbid, if he ever had to be entrusted with the presidency, whether he really has the mental capacity to handle it.”

The difficulty facing Obama now is that replacing Biden at this late hour, and under pressure from the likes of Sarah Palin, would be seen as caving, and a sign of desperation and weakness, wrote Jim Geraghty at National Review, offering four reasons the switch won't happen:

"First, it would require President Obama to admit a mistake. Secondly, it would de facto concede that the critics who deride Biden as an ill-informed, tactless, often obnoxious, loudmouthed, bloviating rhetorical time-bomb have been right all along. Thirdly, no one would believe the 'sudden health crisis' or other story put forth to explain the switch. Fourth, there’s no automatic slam-dunk replacement. Think Hillary Clinton wants to jump in two months before Election Day to help save Obama from his own bad decisions?"

Eric Schulzke writes on national politics for the Deseret News. He can be contacted at