Biden Provides 2 More Classic Bidenisms

Somali comment and shoulder rub light up the web
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 17, 2015 5:49 PM CST
Biden Provides 2 More Classic Bidenisms
Vice President Joe Biden talks with Stephanie Carter, wife of incoming Defense Secretary Ash Carter, during Carter's swearing in ceremony.   (Evan Vucci)

Joe Biden has become known for his impromptu moments, and two more had social media buzzing today:

  • Somali cabbies: Hosting a White House summit on extremism, Biden sought to draw a parallel between Minneapolis, where local leaders are working to prevent radicalization of Somali youth, and his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, which Biden said also has a large Somali community. "I might add, if you ever come to the train station you may notice that I have great relations with them, because an awful lot of them are driving cabs, and are friends of mine," Biden said. His audience responded with muted, uncomfortable chuckles. "For real. I'm not being solicitous," said Biden. "I'm being serious." The comment immediately drew criticism elsewhere, with the VP accused of reinforcing a racial stereotype, notes the Huffington Post.

  • Defense chief's wife: A few hours earlier, Biden was swearing in new Defense Secretary Ash Carter when he got up close and personal with Carter's wife. As Carter began speaking, Biden beckoned Stephanie Carter from across the room, then put both hands on her shoulders. They lingered there for roughly 20 seconds until Biden leaned in and whispered in her ear. That, too, sparked prompt and voluminous reaction on social media, like so. This post at CNN cuts Biden some slack, suggesting that the shoulder rub was being blown out of proportion. Still, writes Brenna Williams, "Biden hasn't seemed to recognize the predatory nature of the web—either by choice or by error—and with almost two years left in office, it's probably safe to assume this won't be his last Bidenism."
(Read more Joe Biden stories.)

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