During a town hall about health care in New Hampshire on Friday, Democratic candidate Joe Biden asked the audience to ponder how American citizens would have reacted if Barack Obama had been assassinated after becoming the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee in 2008.
Towards the end of his speech, Biden began discussing the assassination of his “two political heroes,” Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., and then turned to the hypothetical, saying, “My senior semester they were both shot and killed,” Biden said. “Imagine what would have happened if, God forbid, Barack Obama had been assassinated after becoming the de facto nominee. What would have happened in America?”
Biden then spoke about the Vietnam War protest at Kent State saying, “You had over 40 kids shot at Kent State on a beautiful lawn by the National Guard.” Except, four students were killed during the 1970 protest and nine others were wounded.
The former vice president also said that he was accused of being gay by critics of his support for the Equal Rights Amendment (E.R.A.) that would guarantee women protections under the constitution when it was up for ratification in the 1970s and 80s. “Well, you know why Biden is for the E.R.A., he’s probably gay,” Biden claimed some said.
These latest muddled remarks add to a litany of questionable statements made by the gaffe-prone candidate. And not too long ago, Obama himself warned Biden campaign staffers not to let the former vice president “embarrass himself” or “damage his legacy” on the campaign trail. At this point, one has to wonder, as the Democratic field tightens, will Biden’s missteps begin to take a toll?