Obama to Biden: Please quit talking!

Jake Turcotte

You just have to wonder when the day of campaigning is done and Barack Obama nervously reviews what his running mate, Joe Biden, had to say on the campaign trail if he doesn't call him and do his best impersonation of Chris Farley saying, "I wish you could just shut your big YAPPER!"

With Joe Biden on the road, the hits just keep on coming.


No one can underestimate the influence of YouTube in the 2008 campaign. The online video sharing website is often the starting point for a political brawl. Sure, reporters can be emailed a statement alleging that a candidate said something, but when the YouTube video is embedded or linked in the email, it makes it a heckuva lot easier to just hit that play button.

Yesterday, we saw what one congressman coined, "Senator Biden's bizarre anti-coal rant."

The so-called "rant" was caught on video and spread around the Internet yesterday. It showed Joe Biden meeting with supporters after an event in Ohio Saturday.

Here comes Joe

A woman, identified as part of a "clean energy organization," questioned Biden about his support of clean coal technology when solar and wind technologies are "flourishing."

“We're not supporting clean coal,” Biden said. “Guess what? China is building two every week, two dirty coal plants. And it's polluting the United States, it's causing people to die.”

The woman followed, “So will you support wind and solar and alternate technologies?"

“Absolutely, before anybody did,” Biden said. “The first guy to introduce a global warming bill was me 22 years ago. The first guy to support solar energy was me 26 years ago. It came out of Delaware.”

Biden wasn't done yet. He was on a roll.

“China's gonna burn 300 years of bad coal unless we figure out how to clean their coal up because it's gonna ruin your lungs and there's nothing we can do about it.”

Biden's conclusion?

“No coal plants here in America,” he said. “Build 'em, if they're gonna build 'em, over there and make 'em clean because they're killing ya.”


Everyone seems to appreciate Biden's candor -- except his own campaign. The problem is that Biden's remarks contradicted what Obama said at the Democratic National Convention only a month prior.

"As President, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power," Obama said during his acceptance speech.


Although Biden's remarks were not consistent with Obama's, he at least was being consistent with himself.

In a 2007 article in an environmental magazine, Biden said, "Clean-coal technology is not the route to go in the United States, because we have other, cleaner alternatives. But I would invest a considerable amount of money in research and development of clean-coal and carbon-sequestration technologies for export."

McCain reaction

Not surprisingly, the McCain campaign had a comment on the apparent inconsistency.

“Video doesn’t lie, but the Obama campaign certainly does," said McCain spokesman Brian Rogers. "Senator Biden was very clear when he said, on camera, ‘We're not supporting clean coal. … No coal plants here in America.’ Senator Biden’s sincere opposition to coal power shows a fundamental lack of understanding of the role it will play in securing our energy future, and its importance to American jobs and our economy.”

That's not what we meant

The Obama campaign said the McCain response was "just another false attack from a dishonorable campaign."

"Senator McCain knows that Senator Obama and Senator Biden support clean coal technology," said Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor. "Senator Biden's point is that China is building coal plants with outdated technology every day, and the United States needs to lead by developing clean coal technologies."

We love coal!

Both campaigns are now so pro-coal that within 12 hours of each other they both launched coal task forces.

The McCain campaign drew first blood with their "Coalition to Protect Coal Jobs." It's mission: "Protect critical coal jobs when they come under attack from the most anti-American energy ticket in history."

The Obama campaign this morning launched the "Clean Coal Jobs Task Force." It's mission: "Work to promote the Obama-Biden agenda to invest in advanced coal-based technologies, create more jobs in the coal sector and enhance mine safety."

Internal task force

No word if Biden will speak out against both of these new coalitions. But, channeling Chris Farley once again, one has to wonder: If Biden keeps this up, he could end up eating a steady diet of government cheese and living in a van down by the river!

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