Updated Aug 11, 2019

Oh, Joe! Biden blunders pile up

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:

Go deeper

Trump accuses Twitter of interfering in 2020 election

President Trump speaks to the press as he departs the White House in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. Photo: Mandel Ngan/Getty Images

President Trump responded via tweets Tuesday evening to Twitter fact-checking him for the first time on his earlier unsubstantiated posts claiming mail-in ballots in November's election would be fraudulent.

What he's saying: "Twitter is now interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election.They are saying my statement on Mail-In Ballots, which will lead to massive corruption and fraud, is incorrect, based on fact-checking by Fake News CNN and the Amazon Washington Post," the president tweeted. "Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!"

Editor's note: This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates.

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Updated 47 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Twitter fact-checks Trump's tweets for first time

President Trump briefs reporters in the Rose Garden on May 26. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Twitter fact-checked two of President Trump's unsubstantiated tweets that mail-in ballots in the 2020 election would be fraudulent for the first time on Tuesday, directing users to "get the facts" through news stories that cover the topic.

Why it matters: Twitter and other social media platforms have faced criticism for not doing enough to combat misinformation, especially when its propagated by the president.