Biden disappears from the campaign trail amid gaffes, slated to return Oct. 11

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan has made 11 campaign appearances in five states since Oct. 1, while Vice President Joe Biden has made only three campaign appearances in two states.

The time away from the public eye minimizes the gaffe-prone Biden’s chance of making an embarrassing verbal miscue and maximizes his practice time for the Oct. 11 vice presidential debate against Ryan, who has spent years pitching his deficit-cutting strategy to non-government audiences.

On Aug. 14, Biden courted criticism with his race-bating claim to African-Americans that Republicans “are going to put y’all back in chains.” In the weeks before and after that gaffe, Biden played only a limited role in Obama’s campaign.

However, on Aug. 23, Obama used Twitter to kill rumors that Biden would be replaced on the ticket.

“Today marks four years since I chose @JoeBiden to be my running mate. Here’s to an outstanding Vice President and a great friend. –bo,” Obama tweeted Aug. 23.

Since then, Biden’s limited campaign events have still created a few problems for the campaign. For example, on Oct. 2, Biden told an audience in North Carolina that the middle class “has been buried in the last four years.”

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney used that gaffe during the Oct. 3 Denver debate, which polls suggest marked a turning point in the national presidential race.

“Under the president’s policies, middle-income Americans have been buried. They’re just being crushed,” Romney declared.

Biden’s press schedule has also been restricted.

“From all we can find, Joe Biden has done one interview since Paul Ryan joined the ticket August 11. … [while] Paul Ryan has done 197 interviews, 153 of those on TV,” according to a campaign adviser quoted in The Weekly Standard.

Biden’s public schedule is regularly announced by the White House.

“On Monday through Wednesday, the Vice President will be in Wilmington, Delaware [and] there are no public events scheduled,” according to the announcement issued Oct. 5.

“On Thursday, the Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden will travel to Danville, Kentucky. … [and] the Vice President will participate in the Vice Presidential Debate at Centre College,” said the statement.

The only other campaign events on Biden’s October schedule were an event in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on Oct. 3 and two events in North Carolina on Oct. 2, where he produced the “buried” gaffe.

By contrast, Ryan appeared at Oct. 8 campaign rallies in Toledo, Ohio, and in Detroit, Mich.

He has also attended three campaign “drop by” events Wisconsin on Oct. 7, a rally in Virginia on Oct. 4, one rally and three other events in Indiana on Oct. 2. and a Iowa rally on Oct. 1.

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Neil Munro