The Obama team on Sunday maintained that Vice President Joe Biden has not become a liability to the president’s reelection bid, despite the recent Republican backlash over his latest gaffe…

Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter, reaffirmed the president’s confidence in Biden and noted his comment, while awkwardly delivered, did highlight an important difference between the two presidential campaigns.

“They’re using that one word as a distraction, but the larger point is an important point,” Cutter said Sunday on ABC’s This Week, in response to the Romney camp’s criticism of Biden’s comments.

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“Y’all?” Santorum asked incredulously. “Y’all is y’all. When you are in a group – and I have been in groups like that, and you know, it is very easy when you are in a group of people that, you know, when you are in the South or up in different areas of the country and different groups of people – and you develop an affinity with the group that you are speaking in front of, and that is what the vice president was doing. And he tried to develop the affinity and he did it in a horrendous way, and he should apologize for it.”

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“There isn’t a racist bone in Joe Biden’s body and to suggest that, I think, is over the edge,” Durbin shot back. “This fact is, Joe Biden, throughout his career, has fought for equality and opportunity and to suggest something else — it may have been a misuse of words, but to take it to that extreme is just too much Mr. Mayor.”

“Well, how about apologizing for it,” Giuliani responded.

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Barack Obama is in danger of ruining his “hope and change” brand by “turning negative” this year! This claim simply relies on a re-imagined history. Those who now believe Obama ran only positive commercials in 2008 may want to review the record. While John McCain ran a higher percentage of negative ads, Obama still availed himself of plenty of opportunities to criticize and contrast his opponents, as more than 50% of his ads were negative, according to the Wisconsin Advertising Project.

And during the primary campaign with Hillary Clinton, implicit in his positive argument that he would usher in “hope and change” was the counter-argument that Clinton was a symbol of the old, dirtier way of doing business in DC. Based on emails I have from that time, specific attacks on Clinton ranged from policy critiques on her health care plan and its individual mandate, to more personal characterizations like “disingenuous,” “untruthful,” “dishonest,” “doing whatever it takes to win,” “attempting to deceive the American people just so that they can win this election,” and “playing politics with war.”

The bottom line: For better or worse, Obama is a professional politician, and always has been. This means he plays by similar rules and playbooks as other people in his line of business.

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Paul Ryan is a real addition to Romney’s camp. He’s young, intelligent, well-informed and articulate. He’s serious about matters which are serious. And he has a genuine personal appeal. In fact, when I think of Ryan in comparison with the Jar Jar Binks who currently serves President Obama, that bundle of malapropisms, confusion, malice and profound shallowness the world knows as Joe Biden, I think the Romney choice is a stoke of contrasting genius. Biden some people have called a “gaffe-machine.” But they struggle for real explanation, for who has fathomed the dead still waters of the mare closum of the Biden mind?…

Of course, immediately after this consummate [“chains”] smear, a lot of people dismissively said, “Oh, it’s only Joe again.” Problem is, it’s always Joe. He’s a bumbling, offensive, shallow, undisciplined excuse for a vice-president

Some of this election was supposed to have pivoted on Romney’s pick of Ryan. Now it might — after the “y’all in chains” comment this week — turn more on up-to-now-ignored Joe Biden. After all, what besides misadventure, an undammable flow of cliches and gaffes, and sour race-based slurs, does Joe Biden bring to the Obama ticket? If we discount the flurry of prayers begging that Obama never fall ill or worse, nothing…

No, Obama has to live with his VP, like a strange uncle in the attic. But I suspect after this week, the handlers will take over Joe, write his scripts, narrow his appearances and keep him away for good from African-American audiences. If he needs something to feel like he’s contributing, a colouring book should suffice. And perhaps a little extra clarification on what century he’s living in, too.

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Via the Corner.

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Cutter jabbed back at Giuliani’s comments regarding Biden’s abilities to handle the job as vice president by recalling Giuliani’s full-throated defense of controversial pick Sarah Palin to do the job nearly three years ago.

“If he wants to criticize the capacity of a vice president to take hold of this country, he should go back and look at those remarks and whether he still believes that they’re true,” Cutter said.

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