Joe Biden, Zinger-Flinger Extraordinaire

Paul Ryan has to watch out for Joe Biden's zingers in Thursday night's vice presidential debate.

By SHARE
Obama_120511_01.jpg
Barack Obama jokes with Vice President Joe Biden backstage in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building South Court Auditorium.

As Paul Ryan and Joe Biden prepare to face off in tonight's vice presidential debate, more than 2,000 articles have already been written as of Thursday putting the words "Joe Biden" and "gaffes" together, according to Google.

[READ: Pornographers Want Obama for Prez]

But while the current vice president's off-the-cuff remarks have landed him in hot water before, don't write Biden off in tonight's debate. For one—and as Ryan's aides point out—Biden first sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988 while Ryan was still in high school.

But the veteran politician's biggest advantage may be in a little thing beltway insiders like to call "zingers." The sharp one-liners are often the most memorable moments from what can be wonky debates, and Biden is a practiced zinger flinger.

Here are seven of his all time best:

1) "A noun and a verb and 9/11."

Joe Biden, then a Delaware senator, threw this zinger out at a 2007 debate at Drexel University in Philadelphia after he was asked about his own qualifications for vice presidency. Biden directed his response at former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who was known to regularly mention his response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. "There's only three things [Giuliani] mentions in a sentence — a noun and a verb and 9/11," said Biden. "I mean, there's nothing else. There's nothing else."

2) "I love it when John McCain and his running-mate, Governor Palin, stand there on stage together... 'Hey Maverick. Hey Maverick. We're both mavericks, right? It's the maverick thing.'"

See minute 2:52.

"Instead of saying funny things, he says things funny," the Reliable Source once wrote of Biden's one-liners. This zinger at a rally in Danville, Va., in 2008 was no exception. Biden was one of many that year to ridicule Obama's opponent John McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin for continuously presenting themselves as "mavericks" out to fix a broken Washington.

3) "Yes."

See 0:29 seconds.

Biden used just one word to respond to a question from 2007 Democratic primary debate moderator Brian Williams about whether the candidate had the "discipline [he] would need on the world stage." "Yes," Biden simply answered to Williams, causing the crowd to burst into laughter.

4) "[McCain] won't know which of the seven kitchen tables to sit at."

At a speech in Springfield, Ill., during the 2008 presidential campaign, Biden told the crowd he understood that families often worried about how to pay their bills around their kitchen table. McCain, he said, wouldn't understand: "He won't know which of the seven kitchen tables to sit at." Biden was riffing on criticism that the presidential contender, whose wife inherited a beer fortune, couldn't remember how many homes he had.

5) "God love them, as my mother would say, I hope they have another 20 debates."

Some political reporters hailed the GOP primary as a study in absurdity, and Biden was no different. In March, he told a crowd at a fundraiser in St. Petersburg, Fla., that he hoped the entertainment the primary debates provided would keep on going.

6) "That no more qualifies you to be president than being a plumber."

Biden burned Romney with this comment in May, referring to the one-term Massachusetts governor's career in private equity. The zinger got laughs, but didn't get a positive reaction from Sam Wurzelbacher, the former presidential candidate known as "Joe the Plumber."

7) "He's a fine guy, he's a bright handsome guy. ... But I think his ideas are not nearly as fine as he is a man."

Biden criticized Ryan in Winston-Salem, N.C., in June as all brawn and beauty, while saying his budget wasn't designed with the best of brain power.

Zing! Ryan will have to watch out for more of those one-liners tonight, though the GOP VP nominee is also likely to bring a quiver loaded with zingers of his own.

  • Missing Soldier in Afghanistan Reappears
  • Sarah Palin's New Diet: Not the Healthiest?
  • Gallery: The 2012 Presidential Campaign Trail
  • Elizabeth Flock is a staff writer for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow her on Twitter or Facebook or reach her at eflock@usnews.com.