WASHINGTON — Vice President Joe Biden is known for his off-the-cuff remarks, and sometimes, they get him into trouble.
The latest example came last week when Biden told an audience at Harvard that ISIS had been inadvertently strengthened by Turkey and the United Arab Emirates — two U.S. allies. Because the two countries had supplied Syrian rebels with money and weapons, Biden said they had essentially funded extremist elements in the region.
His comments drew sharp pushback from leaders of those countries, and Biden apologized days later.
Here are five other moments when Biden spoke his mind, only to have it come back to bite him.
1. Same-sex marriage: Biden apologized to President Barack Obama in May 2012 after he put the President in a tough position by coming out in support of same-sex marriage ahead of his boss. In an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Biden said he was “absolutely comfortable” with same-sex marriage.
The problem was that Obama was still “evolving” on his stance at the time. But days after Biden’s remarks, Obama announced his own support for same-sex marriage. He said on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that Biden “probably got out a little bit over his skis, but out of generosity of spirit.”
Obama added that he would have “preferred to have done this in my own way, on my own terms,” but “all’s well that ends well.”
2. BFD: Biden’s most colorful slip-up was his use of the catchphrase “big f***ing deal.” That’s how he described the passage and signing of Obama’s signature health care reform law in 2010.
Biden had tried to keep his comment quiet — he whispered it to Obama at the signing ceremony — but a host of cameras and microphones in the room were able to pick it up.
And with an emerging social media environment that’s especially friendly to ever-shorter quotes, the acronym “BFD” became even more popular.
3. LaGuardia: As anyone who’s traveled through New York’s LaGuardia Airport can attest, the transit hub is in dire need of upkeep. Biden famously compared it to a “Third-World country” this year.
“If I blindfolded someone and took them at 2 o’clock in the morning into the airport in Hong Kong and said ‘where do you think you are?’ They would say, ‘this must be America. This is a modern airport,’ ” Biden said. “If I took them blindfolded and took them to LaGuardia Airport in New York, he would, like, ‘I must be in some Third-World country.’ I’m not joking.”
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio called the analogy “inappropriate” and said the vice president’s comments were “not his finest moment.”
4. New catchphrase? “Isn’t that a b****”: While he was offending the Turks and other allies in the fight against ISIS, Biden gave perhaps a Freudian slip on his view about being No. 2 in the Obama administration. During a Q&A segment, a questioner introduced himself as the vice president of the student body.
“Isn’t that a b****?” a smiling Biden said. “I mean … excuse me. The vice president thing.”
Biden quickly followed up: “I’m joking, I’m joking, I’m joking. Best decision I ever made. I’m joking — that was a joke.”
The student told Biden that he hopes he loves being vice president. “I do, actually. I love the guy I work with,” Biden said.
5. Obama will be tested: Just weeks before the 2008 presidential election, Biden predicted that Obama would have a bumpy start to his presidency — not exactly the message that Obama, who was criticized for his lack of experience, wanted to convey.
“Mark my words. It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy,” Biden told Democratic fundraisers. “The world is looking. We’re about to elect a brilliant 47-year-old senator President of the United States of America.”
“Remember I said it standing here, if you don’t remember anything else I said,” Biden continued. “Watch, we’re going to have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.”
We’ll let you be the judge on these: Was he telling the truth, or at least what he thinks is the truth?
#awkward: Hillary Clinton might have been a better pick: Not long after Obama chose Biden as his running mate and the bruising battle between Obama and Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, Biden sought to prop up Clinton but may have taken it a step too far.
“Make no mistake about this, Hillary Clinton is as qualified or more qualified than I am to be vice president of the United States of America. Let’s get that straight,” he said at a New Hampshire town hall when a voter told Biden he was glad the then-Delaware senator had been chosen and not Clinton.
“She’s a truly close personal friend, and she is qualified to be president of the United States of America. She’s easily qualified to be vice president of the United States of America, and quite frankly, it might have been a better pick than me,” he continued.
Obama went on to pick Clinton as his secretary of state, and she served during his first four years as president.
Clinton and Biden are now considering 2016 presidential reruns, but it’s highly doubtful Biden will repeat that remark. But then again, you never know.
White boy can jump: At an event this year honoring African-American history month, Biden said he and former NBA star Kevin Johnson, now Sacramento’s mayor, could take on the President in a game of hoops.
“I told the President, next game I have him,” Biden said. “Just remember I may be a white boy, but I can jump.”
He probably regrets this one: In a June 2006 appearance in New Hampshire, Biden talked with an Indian-American about his positive relationships with the Indian-American community in Delaware. With his Hollywood smile, he added a well-intentioned but cringe-worthy assessment of the group’s growing population in Delaware.
“You cannot go into a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. Oh, I’m not joking.”