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'He keeps saying stupid stuff': Iowa Democrats concerned about Biden's gaffes

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 8/12/2019 Joseph Simonson

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DES MOINES — With the Iowa State Fair attendees taking the measure of 2020 Democrats, some say they're increasingly concerned about former Vice President Joe Biden's verbal gaffes and mistakes on the stump.

"Well, I like Biden, he just keeps saying dumb stuff. He feels comfortable in interviews, but his staff just needs to really consider what they're letting him say," said George Alberson, a 62-year-old retiree. "People I know still like Biden. Whether that's predicated on the facts, I have no idea."

Since arriving in Iowa last Wednesday Biden has stepped on his own message of condemnation about President Trump, tempered with words of reconciliation.

On Thursday Biden spoke at an Asian and Latino Coalition Town Hall and conflated low-income students with racial minorities.

“Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids — " Biden said, before quickly correcting himself, “ — wealthy kids, black kids, Asian kids.”

Biden's campaign even had to release a statement of clarification, saying he "misspoke and immediately corrected himself during a refrain he often uses to make the point that all children deserve a fair shot, and children born into lower-income circumstances are just as smart as those born to wealthy parents."

a man wearing a suit and tie © Provided by MediaDC: Washington Newspaper Publishing Company, Inc. That same day Biden misspoke again, saying Democrats like him choose "truth over facts," in what was muddled version of a standard campaign refrain.

The next day, Biden made the erroneous claim that he was vice president during the 2018 Parkland shooting, going as far as to say he even met with the kids personally in Washington, D.C.

"Those kids in Parkland came up to see me when I was vice president," he told reporters.

Still, while Biden's gaffes had journalists buzzing, many of the vice president's older supporters thought the attacks were unfair.

"People are taking his words out of context. They're holding the fact that he worked for the Obama administration against him," Sally Hendrenson, 60, told the Washington Examiner at the Iowa State Fair Monday. "He can do the job."

Iowa has traditionally not treated Biden well. In 1987, his first White House run was doomed after he was caught copying phrases from a British politician during a speech at that year's state fair, leading to a series of negative news stories about his record which helped sink his campaign.

In 2008, Biden dropped out of the presidential race after finishing in fifth place behind Barack Obama, John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, and Bill Richardson with 0.09% of the vote, despite months of campaign in the Hawkeye State.

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