Joe Biden called his vice presidential opponent Sarah Palin “good looking” at an event in Toledo yesterday. It was classic Biden, full of self-deprecating humor.
Biden: There’s a gigantic difference between John McCain and Barack Obama and between me and I suspect my vice presidential opponent and that is that – it’s obviously, really, she’s good looking, you know there’s all these differences.
Woman in crowd: You’re gorgeous!
Biden: Where is that person? Who said that? Can you say that again for my wife?
Woman in crowd: You are gorgeous!
Biden: You know, I’ll tell you what, can you make sure Jill hears that. I want to make sure Jill hears that. I haven’t heard that in a long, long, long, long time…. I thought I was in pretty good shape until I hung out with this guy.
Now, before the commentators go nuts for my posting on something so superficial – I actually chose to ignore these comments yesterday – this morning the buzz seems to be that Biden was being sexist or condescending towards her. As a woman, I have to disagree. If Al Gore had made the same remark about Dan Quayle in 1996 I think most people would’ve laughed and no one would’ve said anything. Taking exception to it because she’s a woman is sexist.
Also, there’s an argument to be made that this is exactly the kind of tone that Obama hired Biden for — to help appeal to blue-collar workers. It’s the same reason why Biden at every opportunity talks about how beautiful his wife is. After all, it was Rush Limbaugh who said that Republicans now have a “babe” on the ticket – was he being condescending or trying to appeal to that sliver of working class swing voters?