Elections
Vice President Joe Biden waves as he arrives to speaks at Staffilino Chevrolet, Thursday, May 17, 2012 in Martins Ferry, Ohio. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic) Vice President Joe Biden waves as he arrives to speaks at Staffilino Chevrolet, Thursday, May 17, 2012 in Martins Ferry, Ohio. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)  

Biden sent home to Delaware to start weekend early

Photo of Neil Munro
Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

Vice President Joe Biden is going home to Delaware.

The updated White House calendar for Aug. 17 reports that “in the morning, the Vice President will meet with senior advisers. Later, the Vice President will be in Wilmington, Delaware.”

“There are no public events scheduled,” said the 5:36 p.m. White House announcement, titled “Daily Guidance for the Vice President.”

Biden’s retreat home during the increasingly frenetic 2012 race comes amid increased criticism for his campaign-trail performance.

Biden was slated to share an uncomfortable lunch with President Barack Obama on Thursday, following his disastrous week on the campaign trail, which culminated with a racially inflammatory warning to African-American supporters that Mitt Romney will “put y’all back in chains.”

The flubs revived chatter about whether the president will drop Biden, and seek a substitute vice president to win the tough 2012 race.

Obama’s spokesman Jay Carney on Thursday provided a tepid defense of Biden when he was asked if the vice president would remain on the ticket.

“Yes and that was settled a long long time ago,” Carney said, before quickly changing the subject to Medicare.

Despite the vice president’s apparent benching, his wife Jill Biden is going back out on the campaign trail.

However, she’s only going down the road from their house in Wilmington.

On Friday, “Biden will visit the Guardian Angel Child Care in Wilmington for a reading of her book Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops,” according to a White House statement.

A review of Biden’s schedule for the last several weeks shows that he’s been kept on a very short chain, and has spent many days in Delaware, rather than on the campaign trail or even at the Vice-President’s mansion in D.C.

On the week starting Monday Aug 6, he had no campaign events scheduled. In the prior week, he was scheduled to attend only three campaign events. In the prior week, starting Monday July 23, he attend a firefighters’ convention in Palm Beach, Fla., a police convention in Philadelphia, and an one additional “campaign event” in Washington D.C.

Biden’s campaign trail flubs this week also included two errors that prompted derision from GOP supporters and from the media.

Biden also managed to irritate the Washington Post’s editorial-writers, who complained about Biden’s response to a voter’s question about the Social Security program, which is heading rapidly toward bankruptcy.

“I guarantee you, flat guarantee you, there will be no changes in Social Security. … I flat guarantee you,” he said.

But Biden’s chain claim was especially damaging because it diverted attention from the Democrats’ criticism of Gov. Mitt Romney’s running-mate, Rep. Paul Ryan.

It also helped Romney persuade swing-voters that the Obama campaign is divisive and hateful, in contrast to Obama’s 2008 “hope and change” message.

“Mr. President, take your campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago,” Romney said during a Wednesday speech in Ohio.

The Obama campaign “is one of the most hateful, divisive operations that we have ever seen in this country,” Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said on the Tuesday episode of “Hannity” on Fox News Channel.

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