Adding to the very bad day Barack Obama and Joe Biden had yesterday, Biden made a gaffe that was at once understandable and yet defining. Biden wanted to recognize a few people at an event by having them stand up to greet the crowd, and wound up exhorting a man in a wheelchair to do so:
Biden had an awkward moment during a rally in Columbia, Mo., Tuesday. At the start of his remarks, he pointed out several state lawmakers in the audience for praise. When he got to Chuck Graham, a state senator from Green Meadows, Biden urged the lawmaker to “stand up Chuck, let ’em see ya.”
But Graham, who is in a wheelchair, can’t stand up – a fact Biden quickly picked up on.
“God love ya, what am I talking about,” Biden said. “You can tell I’m new,” he quipped, asking the audience to stand up for Graham instead.
Being gracious first, I’ll say that I see this kind of mistake made occasionally with my wife, who is blind. I’ll have to remind people that she can’t see them nod or shake their head in conversation. The First Mate doesn’t wear dark glasses or normally carry a cane, too, so often people don’t realize she’s blind until they’re told. Sometimes, to her aggravation, they’ll apologize for using the words “see” or “watch” as if they offend her, which of course they don’t.
On the other hand, Biden’s looking right at the man in the wheelchair when he asks him to get up, and that’s hard to miss. I’m also less inclined to offer Biden a pass after eight years of Democrats talking about what a moron George Bush is supposed to be, including as one of their data points an urban legend that Bush waved at Stevie Wonder at a Ford Theater benefit in 2002. The Washington Post reported it and it flew through the national media and late-night talk shows, until finally the Post decided to investigate it and found out that Bush had actually waved at Kelsey Grammar.
At least this story is true.