Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., today began criticizing the GOP ticket for the tone they're setting by attacking the character of Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.
At rallies this week where Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin made sinister insinuations about Obama, attendees yelled out "Treason!" "Terrorist" and "Kill him!" in reference to Obama. At a Florida rally for Palin, a supporter used a racial epithet to attack an African-American member of the media.
In Tampa, Fla., this morning, Biden said, "to have a vice presidential candidate raise the most outrageous inferences, the ones that John McCain's campaign is condoning, is simply wrong.....This is beyond disappointing. This is wrong."
Paraphrasing a pledge McCain once made of something he would not do, Biden said of the Republican ticket, "they’re gonna try and take the low road to the highest office in the land, and that’s exactly what they’re doing."
"I think it goes way too far," Biden told Diane Sawyer on ABC News' "Good Morning America." "Look, this really is a case where when you don't have anything to talk about, attack. And it gets really over the edge. I mean, some of the stuff she's saying about Barack Obama and the stuff that people are yelling from the crowd, if she hears it, she should be at least saying, 'Whoa, whoa, whoa; that's overboard.'"
Biden added "this is volatile stuff."
Asked on NBC's "Today" show to explain what's going on, Biden said, "They’re losing. She's been told to go out and pull out all the stops. ... I think it is ugly."
Biden said he "heard that a couple of people hollering from the audience, you know, semi-vile things about, you know, 'terrorist' and things like that. And the idea that a leading American politician who might be vice president of the United States would not just stop mid-sentence and turn and condemn that, you know, I just -- this is -- this is a slippery slope. This is a place we shouldn't be going."
On the CBS "Early Show" this morning, Harry Smith noted that Palin has "been going to these rallies, tens of thousands of people showing up, talking about a friend of your running mate's as a domestic terrorist. Does your campaign have an answer for that?"
"Yes," said Biden, "It's just malarkey, flat malarkey. Barack Obama was 8 years old when this guy was engaging in activities he was engaged in. He is no part of our campaign. He will be no part of anything having to do with the White House. The guy Barack Obama is going to turn and ask opinion is me, not that guy. "You know, the idea here that somehow these guys are, once again, injecting fear and loathing into this campaign, is -- is -- it's -- is -- I think is mildly dangerous," Biden continued.
"I mean, here you have out there these kinds of, you know, incitements out there -- a guy introducing Barack, using his middle name as if it's some epitaph or something," Biden said. "This is over the top."
Presumably, Biden meant "epithet," not "epitaph." Though perhaps it was a Freudian slip indicating larger, unspoken fear of Biden's.
-- Jake Tapper and Matthew Jaffe