Top Gaffes from the Mouth of Vice President Joe Biden

Joe Biden is known for his straight-talkin', gaffe-prone style.

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Vice President Joe Biden is known for his foreign policy expertise, riding Amtrak and putting his foot in his mouth. For the most part, his verbal follies leave Democrats shaking their heads and saying, 'Oh, that's just Joe.'

But sometimes Biden's mouth gets him in real political hot water, like his recent remark about how loosening Wall Street regulations would put people "back in chains."

[Read: Presidential race becoming bare-knuckled brawl.]

Here's a rundown of other note-worthy, cringe-inducing remarks from the vociferous vice president:

Then a Delaware senator, Biden was caught on C-SPAN in 2006 speaking to an Indian-American voter.

"In Delaware, the largest growth of population is Indian-Americans, moving from India. You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I'm not joking," he said. A spokeswoman later said his point was that Delaware has for decades had a long-standing Indian-American community.


During the Democratic presidential primary ahead of the 2008 election, Biden riled many with his remarks about his young opponent, then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama.

"I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy," he said. "I mean, that's a storybook, man."

[Check out U.S. News Weekly: an insider's guide to politics and policy.]


Commenting on criticism of Hillary Clinton, who was not tapped by Obama as his running mate despite finishing a close second in the Democratic presidential primary, Biden admitted that perhaps she would have been a wiser choice.

"Hillary Clinton is as qualified or more qualified than I am to be vice president of the United States of America. Let's get that straight. She's a truly close personal friend," he said during a New Hampshire campaign event. "Quite frankly, it might have been a better pick than me. But she's first rate."


In perhaps his most awkward gaffe, Biden asked Missouri state Sen. Chuck Graham, who is confined to a wheelchair, to stand up and wave to his campaign event audience.

"Stand up, Chuck, let 'em see ya," he said. Upon seeing that wasn't going to happen, Biden said, "Oh, God love ya, what am I talking about?"

[See photos of GOP VP pick Paul Ryan.]


At the onset of the swine flu epidemic in 2009, Biden was anything but reassuring when interviewed on NBC's Today.

"I would tell members of my family, and I have, I wouldn't go anywhere in confined places right now. It's not that it's going to Mexico, it's that you are in a confined aircraft. When one person sneezes, it goes everywhere through the aircraft," he said. "That's me."


In 2010, during the health care law signing ceremony, a live microphone picked up Biden saying, "This is a big f---ing deal," to President Barack Obama.


Also in 2010, Biden incorrectly implied that the mother of the Irish prime minister was dead.

"God rest her soul," he said, though he again quickly realized his error. "Wait, your mom's still alive! It was your dad who passed. God bless her soul!"

Rebekah Metzler is a political writer for U.S. News & World Report. You can contact her at or follow her on Twitter.

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