What were they thinking

Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.), left, last week made remarks about Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), right, that have landed him in hot water. Biden said, “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.” We asked our trusty panel to comment on what was going through the senator’s mind at the time.

Jeff Gannon, political commentator and former White House correspondent:
“How is what Biden said not a lot worse than what [Sen.] Trent Lott (R-Miss.) said a few years ago? The liberal outrage machine is curiously quiet.”

C. Stewart Verdery, lobbyist, Monument Policy Group:
“Only in Washington can you get in trouble trying to say something nice about somebody — much easier to stay negative, which is so routine not even YouTube would post it.”

A Democratic Senate press secretary who wished to remain anonymous:
 “This issue is not really a big deal, since Biden is the Baghdad Bob of the Senate. No one takes what he says seriously. Side note: toughest job on Capitol Hill? Biden’s flack. He or she should get hazard pay.”

Jonathan Grella, vice president of public affairs, Edelman Public Relations and former press secretary for ex-Rep.Tom DeLay (R-Texas):
“Thankfully, I don’t know what Sen. Biden was thinking, but [former Virginia Republican Sen.] George Allen and Trent Lott are thinking, ‘Where’s the outrage?’ Sens. Allen and Lott were treated to firestorms that did irreparable harm to their reputations and careers. Biden’s comment was no less insensitive, yet this situation won’t cost his reelection or resignation. And he won’t lose any national race he hasn’t lost already. Therefore, we need to hit Joe where it hurts: He’s grounded. No more Sunday shows for a year. And no more plagiarizing Sen. [Robert] Byrd’s (D-W.Va.) diary.”

Jessica Cutler, a.k.a. Washingtonienne, former aide to ex-Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio):
“By ‘clean’ he meant ‘untainted by scandal, unlike Hillary.’ And by ‘articulate’ he meant ‘communicates clearly, unlike myself.’”

House Republican press secretary:
“Can you imagine being the press guy for the USS Biden? Pulling out of the presidential harbor for the race and then — BAM ... three torpedoes slam into the hull. I am sure he will bounce back with his gift for gab and plenty of ‘I’m sorrys’ and ‘NO! Wait, that’s not what I meant’ appearances. Dems don’t eat their own when it comes to goofs like this.”

Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth, former “Apprentice” star and former White House aide to Vice President Al Gore:
“Biden could be ‘clean and articulate’ too if he washed his mouth out with soap!!”

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