ABC News' Matthew Jaffe reports: After her speech Wednesday night at the Republican convention in St. Paul, most of the nation now knows who Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is. Her vice-presidential counterpart, Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., apparently still does not.
"I heard a very, by the way I mean this sincerely, a very strong and a very good political speech from a lieutenant governor of Alaska who I think is going to be very formidable, very formidable not only in the campaign but in the debate," Biden said Thursday at an economic discussion at George Mason University in Manassas, Virginia.
Biden spokesman David Wade acknowledged that Biden mistakenly called Palin "lieutenant" Governor, but brushed it off as a meaningless error. "Oh Lordy day, it's not like he said Czechoslavakia was still a country. Newsflash: sometimes people get a word or two crossed," said Wade.
However, Biden's audience appears to know plenty about Palin - and they are none too pleased with her. For the second consecutive event, Biden had to field a question from a female audience member expressing very strong anti-Palin sentiment.
"I just want to let you know that I'm really tired of the Republicans pandering to women voters," said Jennifer Halpin of Leesburg, Virginia. "I've been supporting Barack Obama from day one. I also really respect and admire Hillary Clinton. And I think it's preposterous for Republicans to think that just because they add any woman to their ticket that we are going to be dumb enough to turn into Stepford wives and vote [for McCain]."
Responded Biden, "Spoken like my wife, daughter and sister."
Although he joked Thursday morning in Virginia Beach that "fortunately" he didn't see much of Wednesday's Republican convention action while he flew from Florida to Virginia, Biden sounded like he had caught up on what he missed.
"I heard a lot of attacks on Barack Obama and a few on me," the senator said. "I heard a lot of appeals to division in America, heard a lot of scare tactics, heard a lot of things that weren’t accurate from the speakers about Barack Obama’s record and what an Obama-Biden administration would do."
Referring back to John McCain campaign manager's Rick Davis' comment that this election is not about issues," Biden noted, "It's obvious to me from last night that that's what they intend to do, try to make this election not about issues."
"Quite frankly, folks, they can't explain the eight years of absolute, absolute, abject failure of our foreign policy," continued Barack Obama's running mate. "And they can't explain the eight years of economic decline in this country, particularly hitting the middle class like a gut punch. They can't explain it. And the second thing is, the don't have any answer. They dug us into a very, very, very deep hole. and I think I can say this without fear of contradiction. Just forget the politics, just look at the facts. Look at where the nation is today and where it was, notwithstanding 9/11, and where it was prior, prior to George Bush becoming president of the United States of America."
The ever-colorful senator also went on to compare President Bush to Houdini.
"I call President Bush, I'm kidding with him, I call him Houdini," he said. "And the reason I do, I kid him, I say how could you have gone from a projected surplus of $5.4 trillion to a projected deficit of over $8 trillion – trillion with a "t" dollars. How could you have inherited a $232 billion operating surplus and leave us with a $500 billion likely deficit, on average well over $250 billion a year. I didn’t think Houdini could do that. So I find it interesting that, that, that John McCain talks about how he votes - brags about he votes 90, I think, 95, whatever he said, percent of the time with George Bush. That’s not what I’d call a change agent. I find it kind of fascinating that when he talks about being joined at the hip, his folks talk about being joined at the hip with Bush. Folks, we need a hip replacement."