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Obama on Biden: I don't know what he's talking about

By Jimmy Orr / February 10, 2009

What was Vice President Joe Biden referring to when he said, "there’s still a 30-percent chance we’re going to get it wrong." President Obama said he couldn't remember. "Not surprisingly," the president said to laughter.

LARRY DOWNING/REUTERS/FILE

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Come on, is this anyway to treat your wingman?

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Would Maverick do this to Goose? Maybe to Iceman. But to Goose?

Top Gun references aside (although they are timely, as Val Kilmer wants to be New Mexico's governor), when Barack Obama had a chance to clear Joe Biden's name last night – in front of the whole nation – he passed. Some would say the president threw Joe under a bus.

Prediction

Last week we told you about Joe Biden's really candid remarks to House Democrats that "If we do everything right ... there’s still a 30-percent chance we’re going to get it wrong."

He was discussing challenges facing the administration. Frankly.

Linkage

It was a catchy sound bite, sure. But it wasn't getting much traction until CNN's Wolf Blitzer incorrectly said the vice president was specifically talking about the economic stimulus package.

Playing the video clip to Obama adviser David Axelrod, Blitzer said, “That’s not very encouraging. A one-in-three chance that even if the president gets everything he wants, it’s still going to be wrong?”

Axelrod had no idea what Biden was talking about and quickly shifted the conversation.

Video everywhere

Although the conservative blogosphere took great delight in Blitzer's conversation and quickly posted the video everywhere, most of the mainstream media held back, including the Washington Times.

But, just like the urban legend of waking up in a bathtub full of ice only to discover your kidneys have been removed, the idea that Biden was predicting a 30 percent failure rate for the economic stimulus bill is what stuck.

Question

FOX News reporter Major Garrett asked the president last night what Biden was talking about.

"Can you at least reassure them it wasn't the stimulus bill or the bank rescue plan – (laughter) – and if in general, you agree with that ratio of success, 30 percent failure, 70 percent success?" he asked.

Answer

Here's the chance for the president to set the record straight. To vindicate the vice president. After all, as Rod Blagojevich said, "The truth will set you free."

Instead, the president offered, "You know, I don't remember exactly what Joe was referring to," he said to laughter. "Not surprisingly."

"But let me try this out," the president said valiantly trying to come up with something. "I think what Joe may have been suggesting, although I wouldn't put numerical – I wouldn't ascribe any numerical percentage to any of this – is that given the magnitude of the challenges that we have, any single thing that we do is going to be part of the solution, not all of the solution."

Hieroglyphics

What?

Exactly. Quotes are far less inflammable when they can't be deciphered.

Will the VP follow suit? Probably not. Unless, just like the campaign, they forbid him to ad lib.

To be continued...

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