Biden does not derail agreement on stimulus bill

Senators reached a tentative agreement on the economic stimulus bill Friday night. While speaking to House Democrats on Friday morning, Joe Biden did not torpedo the package.

With word of an apparent agreement in the Senate on the "bipartisan" stimulus bill (three Republicans have signed on), it appears that not even Joe Biden's alleged gaffe this morning could have torpedoed it.

The way CNN host Wolf Blitzer presented the vice president's remarks Friday, it looked as though Biden couldn't have fumbled at a worse time.

As Randy VanWarmer once sang, "Just when I needed you most."

But, truth be told, he's innocent.

30% chance of fail

While discussing the president's stimulus package with Obama advisor David Axelrod this afternoon, Blitzer played a clip from the vice president's speech at the House Democrats' retreat.

"If we do everything right, if we do it with absolute certainty, we stand up there and we make really tough decisions, there's still a 30-percent chance we're going to get it wrong," Biden said.

"That's not very encouraging," Blitzer said. "A one in three chance that even if the president gets everything he wants, it's still going to be wrong?"

"I don't know exactly about what that math was," Axelrod muttered before quickly launching into the administration's line on the supersized spending bill.

Not again

Fact is, Blitzer took the comments out of context. The vice president wasn't talking specifically about the stimulus bill. He was talking about the challenges overall that the country faces.

Even the Washington Times didn't play gotcha with Biden's remarks acknowledging that much of the vice president's talk centered on the importance of House Democrats "sticking together and making unpopular but necessary decisions."

"Not since World War II has a caucus gathered with so many challenges facing our country and the stakes so high. If we do everything right ... there's still a 30 percent chance we're going to get it wrong. You, too."

There's the context.

No matter

Regardless, the conservative side of the blogosphere is having fun with the clip tonight passing that CNN video around.

Michael Goldfarb at the Weekly Standard wonders, "Is that how Democrats defined competence before the election?"

One reader at the National Review writes, "Has Joe Biden become the political equivalent of Manny Ramirez? Nothing that the VP does even elicits a questioning look anymore; it’s just 'Biden being Biden' much like 'Manny being Manny.'"

Well, Biden is still Biden. And his remarks were still very candid. But, at least in this case, the press office won't have to send out a press release "clarifying" what he said.


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