The White House blamed Vice President Joe Biden for just being Joe for a quip he made to House Democrats this week about the GOP presidential field being a gift from up above.
Biden was addressing lawmakers at their retreat in Baltimore. “We may be given a gift from the Lord in the presidential race here,” he said.
“I don’t know who to root for more. Cruz, or — what’s that guy’s name? He’s having a fundraiser tonight for veterans, I’m told,” he said, referring to Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
Biden told Dems that “all kidding aside” it’s been a “tough last couple” of campaign cycles. “But we should get up, man,” he said. “There’s a real shot here.”
“I’m confident we’ll win back the Senate. I think we can make great inroads and maybe win back the House, when no one expects it now,” he added. “We’ve got to make the case of what we’re for and what they are for.”
White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters today that “the vice president has a well-established reputation for his colorful expressions.”
“I think the president has made clear that, regardless of who Republicans nominate at this point, based on the rhetoric that we hear not just from the leading candidate, but from all of the leading candidates — to the extent that there are multiples of them — all are offering up the same kind of pessimism and doom and gloom that stands in stark contrast to the kind of optimism and energy and momentum that Democrats are running on,” Earnest continued.
“And that dynamic, historically, in politics, plays pretty well for those who are running on optimism and the kind of can-do spirit that has infused American politics since the founding of our country.”
Earnest said he thought Biden’s point “is that the contrast offered up by the — from the pessimism and — of the Republican candidates, again, creates a genuine opportunity for Democratic candidates that are interested in championing the — the interests of middle-class families and capitalizing on the momentum that our economy is showing, and building on what is best about America.”
When presented with polling that shows more Americans are pessimistic about this country now than in the past two years, Earnest replied “that’s the beauty of these things.”
“There’ll be a contest. There’ll be a long debate over the course of this year, and there will be an election in November, and we’ll tally up the votes, and we’ll find out,” he said.