Oops! Vice President Biden 'swears' by Amtrak

Vice President Joe Biden announces an increase in Amtrak funding as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act at Washington's Union Station.

Who says that Vice President Biden is not going to be anything like Vice President Cheney.

It turns out they have something in common.

Remember when Vice President Cheney greeted Vermont Senator Pat Leahy a few years ago?

Déjà vu.

The same thing happened Friday. Except Biden didn't know a microphone was hot and used the same expletive as Cheney did.

It wasn't said in the same matter, however. He just said "Give me a break" (take said expletive, turn it into an attributive adjective, and insert it where you see it most appropriate) when an old Senate colleague called him "Mr. Vice President" at an Amtrak ceremony.

Where's the real news?

Biden did some other stuff too. Like participate in a bi-partisan event to discuss the $1.3 billion that Amtrak is receiving as part of the economic stimulus package or porkulus package (depending on your political persuasion).

It can be called bi-partisan because one Republican was there. Guess who? Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter.

Specter doing that is no surprise. And it's no surprise that Biden participated in the event. He is, after all, Mr. Amtrak - riding the train more than 7,000 times since first elected to Washington.

Dissing Amtrak

Is Amtrak profitable? No. It never has been.

This point irritates many conservatives. Take Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn for example. He says make it fair or make it disappear.

"If everybody in America says we ought to subsidize Amtrak, [then] let's start subsidizing all our airplanes again. Let's subsidize our taxi-cab rides. Let's subsidize everything," Coburn told CNN.


The vice president though is tired of the Amtrak criticism. He's so tired of it that he said the same word four times in a row.

“Every, every, every, every passenger rail system in the world relies on subsidies,” Biden said. “We subsidize our highways and airports more than we subsidize Amtrak. So let’s get something straight here. Amtrak has not been at the trough. Amtrak has been left out.”

"Over 28 million passengers ride Amtrak each year. That’s about 500,000 passengers a week – or 80,000 a day,” Biden said. "For too long, we haven’t made the investments we needed to make Amtrak as safe, as reliable, as secure as it can be. That ends now. The funds in the Recovery Act for Amtrak will help create jobs and at the same time, repair and update critical needs of our nation’s infrastructure."


Despite Biden's support, there are those in the twitter-verse who ain't happy.

Michelle Malkin tweets: The Bozo Express: Biden siphons off porkulus $ for his beloved Amtrak.

JoeKern tweets: Great, a non viable AMTRAK gets 1.3B so "lunch box" Joe Biden can ride the expensive rail service.

ArquetteSisters tweets: This stimulus bill is more like Amway than Amtrak... a scam.

Scam or no scam, the funding doubles the size of Amtrak's capital investment program over two years and will support 8,000 jobs.


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