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Joe Biden We Hardly Knew Ye (And Already You've Demolished Your Own Candidacy, Again!)

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By John E. Carey
February 1, 2006

Senator Joseph Biden, Jr., the Democratic Senator from Delaware and Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has announced his intention to pursue the Democratic Party's nomination for President of the United States.

Well; now I have seen everything. One of the most self-important in a room of 100 potential egomaniacs steps forward again to become his party's standard bearer. Joe Biden is going to take another shot at the pi├▒ata.

Didn't he whack himself with the bat the last time?

Here is how Big Joe Biden's biography, which he undoubtedly wrote himself, begins on his web site:"Joseph R. Biden, Jr. was first elected to the United States Senate in 1972 at the age of twenty-nine and is recognized as one of the nation's most powerful and influential voices on foreign relations, terrorism, drug policy, and crime prevention."

Well, I was working on Capitol Hill the year Senator Biden first arrived in the Senate. He jabbered so much even as a freshman Senator that Senate staffers routinely lampooned him behind his back.

All these years later, sadly, they still do.

Senator Biden has been in Washington D.C. ever sine 1972 because he pretty much has never had another job. But after watching him in limited action during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting with ISG co-chairmen James Baker and Lee Hamilton this week, one had the feeling that two mental giants were facing....something else.And the staffers in the passageways of Senate Office Building still tell tales of Biden's endless stream of verbiage.

Fred Barnes said on the Fox News Channel last night, "Biden's problem, as everybody know, is, he talks too much."

Dan Balz of the Washington Post wrote for February 1, 2007 editions: "A gifted orator, Biden has been plagued by a reputation for being windy and verbose, whether while chairing a Senate hearing or speaking at political gatherings around the country."

But if this reputation was not enough; Senator Biden is now insisting, almost daring, the media to resurrect all his real and sometimes meaningful self inflicted wounds.

But before we get to his old wounds, lets review what happened on the day that Biden entered this latest race.

The New York Observer published a remarkable story in which Senator Biden shares his off the cuff remarks about his Democratic opponents.

Biden is quoted evaluating presidential rivals Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-New York, former Sen. John Edwards, D-North Carolina, and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois.

But with everything Biden said, you might find it hard to believe that he managed to insult Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Shirley Chisholm and other prominent African-American on the eve of the start of African-American History Month.

The good Senator Biden opined about Senator Barack Obama, the only African-American serving in the U.S. Senate, "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy," Biden said. "I mean, that's a storybook, man."

So this really is storybook, man! On the day he announced his candidacyt for president, Senator Biden had to issue this apologia:"I deeply regret any offense my remark in the New York Observer might have caused anyone. That was not my intent and I expressed that to Sen. Obama."

And then Biden urged reporters to believe one of the oldest excuses of all: the remark was taken out of context.

Actually, the remark was taken out of Senator Biden's mouth as he was, apparently, inserting a foot.

The conference call confession with reportes sounded like this:

"Barack Obama is probably the most exciting candidate that the Democratic or Republican Party has produced at least since I've been around," Biden said on the call. "And he's fresh. He's new. He's smart. He's insightful. And I really regret that some have taken totally out of context my use of the world 'clean.'"

Well, there is a sound bite that Mr. Obama should save just in case he faces off with Mr. Biden for just about anything.

For his part, Senator Obama issued this statement: "I didn't take Sen. Biden's comments personally, but obviously they were historically inaccurate. African-American presidential candidates like Jesse Jackson, Shirley Chisholm, Carol Moseley Braun and Al Sharpton gave a voice to many important issues through their campaigns, and no one would call them inarticulate."

What a memorable opening day in this ball season! A U.S. Senator throws his hat into the ring (to reveal his neatly and surgically replanted hair), just as he elevates another candidate and embarrasses himself.

Just the day before this circus, the sage Senator Biden chaired his own Senate Foreign Relations Committee. His witnesses, there to testify for more than two and one half hours? Former Presidential Chief of Staff and Secretary of State James Baker and a real foreign policy expert, former Representative Lee Hamilton.

The topic? Nothing much. Just the war in Iraq, the "surge," and the Iraq Study Group (IRG) which the two witnesses co-chaired.

After just a few minutes into this hearing one had the feeling that "one of the nation's most powerful and influential voices on foreign relations" was facing some real mental muscle. You know what Senator Biden did? He excused himself: as if there was something really important going on elsewhere. I was riveted to the testimony of Mr. Baker and Mr. Hamilton. Joe Biden missed a huge chunk of it. I only hope he had it on TiVo.

The witless-one apparently didn't want to spend too much time with the witness duo.

And didn't Senator Biden run for president years ago?

Sure. Joe Biden made himself a candidate in 1988, nearly 20 years ago. So you would think that in that amount of time a man would mellow past the age of ridiculous gaffes.

His last campaign for president tanked when it was revealed that he plagiarized a speech by the leader of the British Socialist Party and palmed it off as his own.

Just last July Senator Biden said before video cameras in his home state of Delaware: "In Delaware, the largest growth of population is Indian Americans, moving from India. You cannot go to a 7/11 or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I'm not joking."

Have you no shame, man? Or have you no brain? If we skip past those questions, then apparently you have no competent staff that can keep you on the least.

Joe Biden is still an amateur after all these years of grooming. Himself.

Is this the first candidate in history to have to apologize on day one of the campaign for something he didn't have to say...and a year before he had to say anything? We'd have to ask the History Channel.

Two things are for sure: Senator Joe Biden is a walking Macaca factory!

And I, for one, sure hope he stays in the race a while!

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John E. Carey is the former president of International Defense Consultants, Inc.
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