In his first foreign trip in the second term of President Barack Obama's presidency, Vice President Joe Biden is gaffing his way across Europe. Biden's three country trip has taken him from Germany to France and, finally, to the UK, where he's just finishing meetings.
Today, after attending a UK national security council meeting, Biden said that he was "delighted to do it, I spent half my life on OUR national security council," according to the pool report. In fact, Biden has only been on the U.S. National Security Council for four years--the four years the 70-year-old vice president has served in the Obama administration, and not the 35 years he suggested.
Also in London, Biden praised the tight bond between the U.S. and Britain by calling it an "open relationship." "We have a great relationship, and as you all know, the most open relationship we have with any nation in the world is with Great Britain," said Biden.
Biden also got Portugal mixed up with Poland. The UK Telegraph calls it the vice president's "latest embarrassing gaffe for the vice president."
"Biden has a well-earned reputation as a gaffe-maker extraordinaire, and this speech was no exception. In a key passage on the Eurozone debt crisis, Biden referred to Portugal, as Poland, a mistake subsequently corrected in the official White House transcript," reports the Telegraph, pointing to this excerpt:
We have seen positive steps recently to address the eurozone crisis, with the European Central Bank pledging to stand behind countries willing to launch reforms, and with Greece, Ireland, Poland* [*sic-Portugal], Spain and Italy all taking important steps to put their economies on a sounder path. Governments across the eurozone must also remain focused on growth and jobs. These may be fundamentally European problems, requiring European solutions, but their resolution has tremendous impact on the United States of America and on the global economy.
Similarly, in Munich, Biden mixed up former U.S. senators Sam Nunn and Dick Lugar. "In each of our countries, we’ve had fine men and women who have made significant contributions while they were actively involved in the political process. But many of them, upon leaving that political office they held, recede into private life and their contributions end. I would suggest that Dick Lugar’s* [*sic- Sam Nunn’s] contributions have been as profound from the day he left the United States Senate and public elective office as they have been when he was in public office, and I believe you’ll see the same thing can be said of my very close friend, Sam Nunn* [*sic Dick Lugar]," the corrected White House transcript reads.
And also in Munich, Biden admitted that, while President Obama sends troops to Iraq and Afghanistan, he "doesn't want to go" there himself.
"It’s great to be back among friends," Biden said. "When I say among friends, I mean not only the distinguished guests that are from around the world who have joined us in this conference. I also mean to be back here in Germany, to be back here in Europe. I have traveled over 640,000 miles since I’ve been Vice President, and most of the time the President sends me to places that he doesn’t want to go. (Laughter.) So I’ve spent an awful lot of time with McCain and others in Afghanistan and Iraq, and so it’s nice to be here in Germany. (Laughter.) It’s nice to be invited back. (Applause.)"
Biden is reportedly mulling a run for president of the United States in 2016.