Whenever Joe Biden opens his mouth - to steal a line from Forrest Gump - it's like eating a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get next.
But one thing we realize is that Forrest always stood by his principles and told the truth. Biden has miles to go in that area. In the gaffe department, Biden had an all-star first year as vice president and this year is proving to be more of the same.
Here are some memorable gaffes that come to mind:
• During the height of last year's Swine Flu scare, he said in an NBC Today Show interview that he wouldn't recommend taking any flights or riding in a subway car because the swine flu virus can spread "in confined places." The White House tried to cover his tracks by releasing a statement saying that Biden was only talking about planes going to and from Mexico.
• Commenting to a group of reporters on a new Hudson River rail tunnel, Biden said the new tunnel "is designed to provide for automobile traffic." But in truth, the tunnel would handle commuter trains that shuttle passengers between New Jersey and Manhattan.
• Playing to a state audience in one small North Carolina town of Pikeville, Biden announced that the government's recovery (stimulus) money wasn't just for the big banks and auto companies, but that "we're investing in places like this all across the country to demonstrate the vital role towns like this play in the recovery." However, Biden failed to mention that the program to stimulate the town came under the Bush administration, thanks to a state senator from the town who worked in the Agriculture Department under Bush.
Biden appears just as inept on foreign policy. While speaking about Afghanistan to Diane Sawyer of CBS last December, the vice president said the top concerns in that nation are al Qaeda and "the stability of a nuclear state called Afghanistan." Also in the same short interview, he told Sawyer about gradually handing off authority in the country to the Afghans, "beginning in 2003."
On Larry King Live last week, Biden stated that the Iraq war may turn out to be one of President Barrack Obama's greatest achievements. He failed to mention the fact that his own strategy once called for having the country divided into thirds and split among Kurds, Shiites, and Sunnis, and that then-Sen. Obama had been an opponent of the George Bush troop surge in Iraq, which many feel helped stabilize the country.
In January 2007 then-Sen. Obama said that he was "not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence. In fact, he said, "I think it will do the reverse."
For Biden to call Iraq one of the "greatest achievements of this administration" is disgusting in that he is cherry-picking for the administration and his political party while ignoring those who really are responsible for getting the job done - our military leaders and soldiers in the field.
The vice president is a boastful, loose-with-the-facts, walking gaffe machine - just the kind of professional politician grass roots Americans are sick of hearing from in Washington and should have their sights set on removing in upcoming elections.
By Jim Zbick