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Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Continuing a parade of slips and gaffes, Joe Biden yesterday told reporters in Iowa that he was vice president during the massacre in Parkland, Florida, which happened more than a year after he left office: "Those kids in Parkland came up to see me when I was vice president," Biden said.

Why it matters: Biden called himself a "gaffe machine" 8 months ago, and his slips have long been part of his persona. But he's 76 — 3 years older than President Trump.

  • Once reporters start looking for slips, they'll find them.
  • And they become a bigger deal than they would be otherwise — like President Gerald Ford's clumsiness or President George H.W. Bush's goofiness.

Biden allies point out that since he's always been this way, it's not a sign of aging.

  • And the WashPost Fact Checker database counted 10,796 false or misleading claims by President Trump during 869 days in office.
  • As the WashPost's Aaron Blake wrote about Biden's "mounting slip-ups": "This isn’t to say Biden’s comments are anywhere close to as problematic as what Trump has said."

Just in the past 2 weeks:

  • The stumble that got the most attention, of course, was when Biden said last week at an Asian & Latino Coalition town hall in Des Moines: "Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids." He quickly added: "Wealthy kids, black kids, Asian kids." Biden told reporters yesterday: "Look, I misspoke. ... I meant to say 'wealthy.' I've said it 15 [times]. On the spot, I explained it." (Politico)
  • Biden, in a line reminiscent of the Bushisms of President George W. Bush, said at the Iowa State Fair on Thursday: "We choose truth over facts!"
  • For the second time in 3 months, Biden on Thursday caught himself when he referred to Margaret Thatcher, who died 6 years ago and was last prime minister 29 years ago, when he meant Theresa May. Back in May, he corrected himself: "Freudian slip."
  • At a fundraiser in San Diego on the Sunday night after the massacres in El Paso and Dayton, Biden referred to "the tragic events in Houston today and also in Michigan the day before," then corrected himself, according to a pool report.
  • Biden looked out of step with these wired times when instead of giving his web address at the end of the second debate, he said: "[G]o to joe30330." He meant: "Text JOE to 30330."

The bottom line: Trump, who revels in defining an opponent's weakness (see Marco Rubio and the water), asked in a tweet last evening: "Does anybody really believe he is mentally fit to be president?"

  • And Trump, who this week said "Toledo" when he meant "Dayton," said on the South Lawn on Friday: "Look, Joe is not playing with a full deck."
  • Biden's retort, from December, during a book-tour stop at the University of Montana: "I am a gaffe machine, but my God what a wonderful thing compared to a guy who can't tell the truth."

Update ... Biden allies point out that it's not just Biden:

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Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

California surpasses 50,000 COVID-19 deaths

A man prepares a funeral arrangement in in Los Angeles, California, Feb. 12. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

California's death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 50,000 on Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: It's the first state to record more than 50,000 deaths from the coronavirus.

4 hours ago - Technology

Facebook bans Myanmar military

A protester holds a placard with a three-finger salute in front of a military tank parked aside the street in front of the Central Bank building during a demonstration in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo by Aung Kyaw Htet/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook said on Wednesday it would ban the rest of the Myanmar military from its platform.

The big picture: It comes some three weeks after the military overthrew the civilian government in a coup and detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi, causing massive protests to erupt throughout the country. Military leaders have been using internet blackouts to try to maintain power in light of the coup.

It's harder to fill the Cabinet

Data: Chamberlain, 2020, "United States of America Cabinet Appointments Dataset" Chart: Will Chase/Axios

It's harder now for presidents to win Senate confirmation for their Cabinet picks, an Axios data analysis of votes for and against nominees found.

Why it matters: It's not just Neera Tanden. The trend is a product of growing polarization, rougher political discourse and slimming Senate majorities, experts say. It means some of the nation's most vital federal agencies go without a leader and the legislative authority that comes with one.

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