In a tortured attempt to avoid insulting Mexico, Vice President Joe Biden today burnished his image as one of the nation's great verbal bumblers.
"I wouldn't go anywhere in confined places now," Biden told Matt Lauer during an interview on "Today" when asked whether he would advise family members to use public transportation. "It's not that it's going to Mexico, it's you're in a confined aircraft when one person sneezes it goes all the way through the aircraft. That's me. I would not be, at this point, if they had another way of transportation suggesting they ride the subway. "
Lauer, apparently eager to zing the VP with a question about being left off People magazine's most beautiful list, didn't bat an eye. It was up to Meredith Vieira and Chuck Todd to point out that the Vice President had suggest that Americans avoid public transportation like, well, the plague.
This isn't the first time that Biden has wilted under the hot glare of "Today." In September, Biden declared that, "The federal government should not bailout AIG," during an interview with Vieira.
Later that day, Obama came out with his own statement on the bailout, saying, "the Fed must ensure that the plan protects the families that count on insurance."
When Lauer called out Obama on the cognitive dissonance with his running mate, the future president said, "I think Joe should have waited," before weighing in.
"I Think Joe Should Have Waited" would make a fine title for the master of the misspoken's biography.
In October, just two weeks ahead of the election, Biden tried to garner votes by promising that a vote for Obama-Biden was a vote for an attack on America.
"Mark my words," the senior senator from Biden warned a crowd of supporters in Seattle. "It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy … Gird your loins, we're gonna win with your help, God willing, we're gonna win, but this is not gonna be an easy ride."
Happily, the only ones to have tested Obama thus far are four guys from Somalia.
On Sept. 10, at a campaign stop in Chicago, Biden attacked GOP presidential nominee John McCain by way of a story about a trip he had made in February to Afghanistan.
"The superhighway of terror between Pakistan and Afghanistan where my helicopter was forced down ... John McCain wants to know where Bin Laden and the gates of Hell are? I can tell him where. That's where Al Qaeda is. That's where Bin Laden is. It's not in the country of Iraq."
Biden seemed to be suggesting they'd come under enemy fire. Not quite. Turns out Biden was having a "Hillary on the Tarmac" moment.
Sen. John Kerry explained what really happened: "The weather closed in on us," hetold the Associated Press. "It went pretty blind, pretty fast and we were around some pretty dangerous ridges. So the pilot exercised his judgment that we were better off putting down there, and we all agreed."
"We were going to send Biden out to fight the Taliban with snowballs, but we didn't have to do it." he said. "Other than getting a little cold, it was fine."
Incredibly, Biden's finest hour remains his introduction of State Senator Chuck Graham at a rally in Columbia, Mo.
"Chuck, stand up, let the people see you," Biden called out, painfully ignorant of Graham confinement to a wheel chair since he was 16.
"Oh, God love you. What am I talking about? I'll tell you what, you're making everybody else stand up, old pal. I'll tell you what, everybody else stand up for Chuck. Stand up for Chuck!" Biden said.
The White House finally apologized Thursday to any Americans who took Biden's swine flu comments too seriously, but they were too late. No one's taken Biden's words seriously since the fall.