Speaking with Hillary Clinton in his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, Biden did an extended riff on Donald Trump’s love of tyrants. “He’s even showered praise on Saddam Hussein, one of the vilest dictators of the 20th century,” Biden said, accurately enough, before leaping into hyperbole. “He would’ve loved Stalin. He would’ve loved Stalin.”
Clinton, seated behind Biden at the podium, went wide-eyed at the Stalin comment.
It’s a classic Biden gaffe, a venerable genre in which the vice president, with great gusto, says something wholly inappropriate. Perhaps Biden felt he had to up his gaffe game to compete with Trump, who has dominated headlines with his attacks on the family of a dead soldier and claims that President Obama is the “founder” of ISIS.
If that’s what Biden was doing, he’s on the wrong track. Clinton and the Democrats gain by making a sharp contrast between Trump’s recklessness and loose tongue and Clinton’s own reliability and careful words. Biden helped blur that crucial contrast.