Even while criticizing Barack Obama's running mate Joe Biden, the Times can't help praising him. John Broder's Friday "Political Memo," "Hanging On to Biden's Every Word ," checked out the Delaware senator's history as a gaffe machine, but sweetened the astringent criticism with a foretaste of honey:
Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic vice-presidential candidate, is an experienced, serious and smart man. But, boy, does he say some curious things. A day on the campaign trail without a cringe-inducing gaffe is a rare blessing. He has not been too blessed lately.
Will the Times ever use a similar lead sentence to describe Sarah Palin?
Broder collected some of Biden's past and present verbal stumbles:
Mr. Obama knew what he was getting when he picked Mr. Biden: A veteran of six terms in the Senate, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and former chairman of the Judiciary Committee, an Irish Catholic with working-class roots, a guy who had twice been tested in the arena of presidential politics.
And a human verbal wrecking crew.
This is the fellow who nearly derailed his nascent presidential campaign last year by calling Mr. Obama "articulate and bright and clean," and who noted that a person needed a slight Indian accent to walk into a Dunkin' Donuts or 7-Eleven in Delaware, his home state.