Vice President Biden ribbed President Obama over his teleprompter use at a Jewish-American Heritage Month reception in New York City on Tuesday.
“You can’t tell Barack that the teleprompter’s down,” Biden said. “The standing joke in the office is Barack’s learning to speak without a teleprompter. I’m learning to speak with one. I apologize for the teleprompter.”
Republicans have long criticized President Obama for his reliance on a teleprompter, often needling him for reading from prepared remarks rather than making off-the-cuff speeches. Biden, conversely, is well known for his for his love of lengthy, and sometimes theatrical, speeches that tend to wander from his prepared remarks.
Biden went on to congratulate the Jewish community for its contributions to American society.
“The Jewish people have contributed greatly to America,” he said. “No group has had such an outsized influence per capita as all of you standing before you and all of those who went before me and all of those who went before you.”
“You make up 11 percent of the seats in the United States Congress. You make up one-third of all Nobel laureates,” he added. “So many notions that are embraced by this nation that particularly emanate from over 5,000 years of Jewish history, tradition and culture: independence, individualism, fairness, decency, justice, charity. These are all as you say, as I learned early on as a Catholic being educated by my friends, this tzedakah.”
In 2006, the House and Senate passed resolutions and President George W. Bush signed a proclamation that the month of May would be Jewish-American Heritage Month.
“Jewish heritage has shaped who we are — all of us, us, me — as much or more than any other factor in the last 223 years, and that’s a fact,” Biden said. “So I think you, as usual, underestimate the impact of Jewish heritage. I really mean that. I think you vastly underestimate the impact you’ve had on the development of this nation. We owe you; we owe generations who came before you.”