It could happen to anyone: You get up in front of a crowd, you get nervous and you slip up. You say something you didn't mean to say. And it happens to Joe Biden pretty frequently. That's why nobody was really surprised when at the State Society of Iowa's gala on Saturday, when Joe Biden, bow-tied and beaming, told a crowd of influential Iowans, "I'm proud to be the president of the United States." That's Joe being Joe!
It's taken some time for the video of the event to leak, but it's leaked. And suddenly, everybody wants to talk about how Biden is running for the nation's highest office in 2016. New York Magazine said, "He's already living in 2016." Flagging the fact that he was sworn in on Sunday by New Hampshire's Democratic governor and South Carolina's Democratic Party chairman, The Wall Street Journal declared that the vice president is "flash[ing] signs of a 2016" run. The Washington Post called his gaffe "a 2016 Fruedian slip."
But just how Freudian was the slip? Did handsome Joe really get a little jumbled up or was he planting a seed, tongue-in-cheek? It's impossible to know and a little silly to speculate. Biden seems genuine enough about explaining himself, and to his credit, it was kind of a mouthful, what he was trying to say: "I'm proud to be vice president of the United States, and I am prouder to be President Barack Obama's vice president!" That's a lot of "presidents!" Biden did some lighthearted damage control right away, "Well, there goes that. Look, on a serious note … I guess I'm not going to get back to the serious note, am I?" And people aren't going to forget that you called yourself "president" in Iowa the night before being sworn in for your second term as vice president.
As for the 2016 rumors, there's plenty of evidence and punditry about Biden's planning to run and his chances at actually winning. Saturday night's gaffe aside, The Journal does make a good point about Biden's choice of activities and activity partners on this politically charged weekend. Then, on Sunday, Biden made a surprise appearance at the Green Inaugural Ball in Washington and talked about the urgency to act on climate change. More signs that Joe Biden is running for president in 2016 on a pro-environment ticket? Or simply more signs that Joe Biden is a politician who spends a lot of time politicking. Sometimes he stumbles over his words, just like we do.