Joe Biden isn't just shrugging off a negative story that appeared this week in the New York Times, he's scoffing at its premise with sarcasm. "Bless me father for I have sinned," Biden said Thursday in a speech before the US Conference of Mayors, per Politico. Biden's reference was to a Times story that recounted how he gave a $200,000 speech in Michigan ahead of the November election. During the speech, he praised GOP Rep. Fred Upton, who was in the audience, as "one of the finest guys I've ever worked with." Upton was locked in a tight race at the time, and he squeaked out a victory after Biden's comments turned up in Republican ads. The Times notes that the speech was delivered before the Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan, which is funded in part by an Upton family foundation.
Biden is weighing a run in 2020, and the Times says the speech not only "underscores his potential vulnerabilities" as a candidate but "raises questions about his judgment as a party leader." Nonsense, Biden said Thursday. "I read in New York Times today ... that one of my problems is if I ever run for president, I like Republicans," he said, before delivering his "bless me" line. "But, you know, from where I come from, I don't know how you get anything done" without working with the rival party. "I don't know how they get anything done unless we start talking to one another again." As for the rest of the speech, Biden foreshadowed a potential campaign theme. Climate change, he said, is "the most urgent priority facing the nation." (Biden has been steering clear of corporate gigs.)