Joe Biden congratulates wrong guy for Boston mayoral win. Who messed up? (+video)
Sure, at first glance, it looks like another gaffe, but not Joe Biden's, this time. After all, getting the phone numbers right is what staff are for. At least it's not another story about the inevitability of a former first lady in 2016.
Vice President Joe Biden literally – literally, we tell you – congratulated the wrong guy for winning the Boston mayoral race on Tuesday night. Son of a gun! What will that old Acela-riding, shotgun-promoting, product of Scranton, Pa., do to get attention next?Skip to next paragraph
Peter Grier is The Christian Science Monitor's Washington editor. In this capacity, he helps direct coverage for the paper on most news events in the nation's capital.
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Here’s the story in case you haven’t heard. Boston’s new mayor-elect is named Marty Walsh. Minutes after the election returns indicated Mr. Walsh’s victory, Mr. Biden reached out to pump the guy’s hand, verbally speaking.
“You son of a gun, Marty!” he said. “You did it!”
But it was the wrong Marty. The veep had called Marty Walsh, a former aide to Sen. Ted Kennedy and the current president of a Boston government relations firm, as opposed to Marty Walsh, the labor activist and state lawmaker who’d just won the top City Hall job.
Wrong Marty did not get upset. He’s used to such mix-ups, apparently. He passed along the phone number of the right Marty, which he had on hand, probably taped next to the phone along with pizza carry-out info.
“Walsh said Biden then jokingly congratulated him for not being mayor,” said the Associated Press.
Flip-flop alert! The guy’s mayor, he’s not mayor, it’s good either way? Take a stand, Biden.
Anyway, here’s our take on this. The mix-up was not Joe’s fault. Why? Because you don’t really think he dials his own phone calls, do you?
He is not sitting in the basement man cave of the VP residence at the Naval Observatory with a cellphone, a ginger ale, and the big screen. He’s in an office somewhere with a list of congratulatory phone calls to make and the White House switchboard all primed to dial the numbers and line them up so Biden can go down the list as fast as possible.
After all, Biden on Tuesday night was the US congratulator-in-chief, to crib a phrase from NPR. He made at least 10 phone calls to winning Democratic candidates in state and local races.
Among those he got on the horn was John Lundell, who won the mayor’s race in Coralville, Iowa.
Mr. Lundell had been targeted for defeat by Americans for Prosperity, a conservative political group that gets some money from the billionaire Koch brothers, whom liberals love to hate.
“He indicated that he was very proud of our city, that we took on the Koch brothers and successfully beat them by such a huge margin,” Lundell told reporters.
Finally, do you think it’s possible that the whole wrong-Walsh thing was a purposeful mistake?
Think about it. The 2016 race is already starting. Joe needs to get reporters to stop writing about Hillary and start writing more about him. If he’s going to run, that is.
Biden’s already got the gabby, regular-guy image. The Walsh mix-up only reinforces that and proves that, if you’re tired of cool, cerebral presidential types, he’s your guy.