Biden's flu safety tips: Don't go anywhere or do anything

Jake Turcotte/staff
Discussing the swine flu on the Today show Thursday morning, Vice President Biden said, "I wouldn’t go anywhere in confined places right now." His press office shortly after his appearance issued a statement clarifying his remarks.

The vice president's office was on full alert this morning. Not because of the flu. But because Biden was talking about the flu.

And sure enough, moments after he spoke, his staff had to issue a statement clarifying what he meant.

Avoid every location

Biden told viewers of NBC's Today show that they should avoid cars, planes, classrooms, trains, subways, and confined spaces in order to protect themselves from the flu.

If all of those choices are not good, where could you hang out? Biden suggested the "middle of a field" was a good idea.


"I would tell members of my family, and I have, I wouldn't go anywhere in confined places right now," Biden said to calm worried citizens about the flu.

"I would not be at this point, if they had another way of transportation, suggesting they ride the subway," he added. "From my perspective, it relates to is mitigation. If you're out in the middle of a field and someone sneezes that's one thing. If you're in a closed aircraft, a closed container, closed car, a closed classroom, it's a different thing."


What did he really mean? His staff cleared it up:

"On the Today Show this morning the Vice President was asked what he would tell a family member who was considering air travel to Mexico this week. The advice he is giving family members is the same advice the Administration is giving to all Americans: that they should avoid unnecessary air travel to and from Mexico. If they are sick, they should avoid airplanes and other confined public spaces, such as subways. This is the advice the Vice President has given family members who are traveling by commercial airline this week. As the President said just last night, every American should take the same steps you would take to prevent any other flu: keep your hands washed; cover your mouth when you cough; stay home from work if you're sick; and keep your children home from school if they're sick."


Bloggers are having a "field day" (pardon the pun) with the news.

Writes National Review's Jim Geraghty:

When Biden was picked as Obama's running mate, a lot of us predicted this day would come - the day Biden's mouth would get the Obama administration in trouble in a non-eye-rolling way. Someday Biden's going to blurt something out and start an international incident.
But remember, Sarah Palin was dangerously unqualified to be Vice President, or at least that's what our media elites told us.

Over at the Atlantic, Marc Ambinder's writes, "Please don't listen to Dr. Biden."

On the Today Show just now, the Vice President urged Americans to tell their loved ones to avoid confined spaces, like airplanes and trains. A bit overbroad? It was left to Biden's spokesperson, Elizabeth Alexander, to clean this up.

Eric Deggans at the TheFeed wonders, "Why does the White House allow Vice President Biden to speak when words really matter?"

When I turned on the Today show this morning and found that the Obama administration had drafted gaffe machine Joe Biden to speak on the growing swine flu pandemic, I knew no good would come of this appearance.
The vice president did not disappoint.

Red State pontificates that Biden suffers from a "Foot-in-Mouth" problem.

If President Obama wishes to handle this crisis by sending Vice President Biden to an undisclosed location until it’s over, well, sacrifices must be made.


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