Biden tells Colbert his gaffes aren’t substantive, makes Kimmel joke
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden says verbal errors and factual misstatements he’s made while campaigning aren’t “substantive” because the essence of what he says has always been true.
The former vice president made his case Wednesday in a CBS “Late Show” interview with host Stephen Colbert.
“Mr. Vice President, you want to talk about issues, but a lot of people want to talk about your gaffes. You’ve called yourself a ‘gaffe machine,'” Colbert said. “In the last few weeks, you’ve confused New Hampshire for Vermont, said Bobby Kennedy and MLK were assassinated in the late 70s, assured us “I’m not going nuts.'”
“Follow up question: Are you going nuts?”
Biden shot right back, feigning another gaffe.
“Look, the reason I came on the Jimmy Kimmel show is because I’m not,” he said to laughs from the audience.
Biden agreed he’s tripped over some details, but said it’s not “relevant” whether some anecdote occurred when he was a senator or vice president.
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“Look, I think it’s fair to go after a political figure for anything,” Biden said. “OK. I mean, we stand up and that comes with the territory.”
“But here’s the deal, any gaffe that I have made, and I’ve made gaffes like every politician I know has, have been not about a substantive issue.”
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He used a story he told about pinning a Silver Star on a soldier as an example. When Biden talked about it on the campaign trail, he got the location, the heroic act, the type of medal, the military branch, the man’s rank and his own role in the ceremony wrong.
“I was not talking about me, I was praising the valor of all these people out there that I’ve visited in over 20 visits in Afghanistan and Iraq,” Biden told Colbert, dismissing the errors.
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“It’s a different thing to say when you’re talking about honoring the bravery or the sacrifice or what other people went through, and the essence of it is absolutely true,” he said.
Biden drew applause saying he doesn’t get confused about matters like putting “kids in cages.” That’s a reference to President Donald Trump’s immigration policy.
Biden rejected the idea that he wants only incremental policy changes. He touted his proposal to expand the Affordable Care Act with a public option, and talked about working with Republicans.
He also joked that he’d nominate former President Barack Obama to the Supreme Court and pick Michelle Obama as his running mate.
Biden also addressed a now-famous comment in which he said he’d take Trump behind the gym and beat him up if they were both in high school.
“I shouldn’t have even said that but it was about high school,” he said to applause and laughs.
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Contributing: The Associated Press. Contact Jessica Bies at firstname.lastname@example.org