Biden's Flu Advice Gives White House a Headache

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 30, 2009 6:53 PM CDT

(Newser) – Oh, Joe. The vice president's impromptu advice this morning to avoid airplanes and subways has resulted in a daylong series of rebuttals and backtracking, reports the Christian Science Monitor. “To suggest that people not fly at this stage of things is a broad brush stroke bordering on fear mongering,” said an American Airlines spokesman. At the White House, press chief Robert Gibbs found himself uttering sentences with the phrase, "What he meant to say ..." and apologizing if anyone was "unduly alarmed."

The airline industry's trade organization and the US Travel Association also weighed in with "extreme" disappointment. Even buddy Tom Harkin piled on, saying Biden should have checked with the CDC first. “We just don’t need that kind of misinformation going out," he said. Transportation chief Ray LaHood had to take the podium to set the record straight. "It is safe to fly," he said. "There is no reason to cancel flights."