No particular Republican is named but it’s no mystery whom this is aimed at.

Was Joe Biden referring to Sarah Palin, a mother of a child with Down syndrome, when he made this comment?

“I hear all this talk about how the Republicans are going to work in dealing with parents who have both the joy, because there’s joy to it as well, the joy and the difficulty of raising a child who has a developmental disability, who were born with a birth defect. Well guess what folks? If you care about it, why don’t you support stem cell research?”

Biden received a thunderous ovation when he made the remark at a town hall style meeting this morning in Columbia.

Team Maverick’s sending around a reminder of what The One said about the families of candidates being “off limits” and offers the obligatory outrage:

Barack Obama’s running mate sunk to a new low today launching an offensive debate over who cares more about special needs children. Playing politics with this issue is disturbing and indicative of a desperate campaign. — Ben Porritt, McCain-Palin Spokesman

Eh, he’s not going after Trig, he’s going after Palin for a position she’s taken on a specific policy issue. Compare and contrast with the media’s descent on Bristol Palin last week, which had nothing to do with policy — Palin’s stance on abstinence education was a fig leaf they reached for afterwards — and everything to do with proving that Palin’s a bad mom. I’m with Ambinder on this one, though: It’s worse than a crime, it’s a mistake. For one thing, in true Biden fashion, it’s clumsily phrased. Presumably he means embryonic stem-cell research, not stem-cell research generally; putting it the way he did leaves McCain open to remind centrists that he supports ESCR and Palin open to tout alternatives to the embryonic approach to take control of the issue. For another thing, even partisans as unhinged as Sullivan have felt obliged to praise her for her commitment to life in carrying Trig to term knowing his condition. It’s one of the strongest testaments to her character in her biography. All this does is push that fact back in front of voters. But beyond that, his question is simply stupid and easily answered: She doesn’t support ESCR because she believes in life at conception and isn’t willing to sacrifice it even to help her own son. Unlike Joe Biden, of course, who also claims to believe in life at conception and yet seems willing to sacrifice it at every opportunity.

Exit question: How happy do you think the infanticide candidate is to have this issue suddenly back on the table?