Apparently petrified that the boss was about to wander into another gaffe, staffers for Vice President Biden tried to remove the press from Biden’s vicinity before he could answer an uncomfortable question.
From the press pool report:
VP Biden made an unannounced stop at about 220 to the campus memorial of victims of the April ’07 Virginia Tech shooting. Color and details about the memorial below, but first a transcription of the vp’s impromptu remarks after he paid his respects.
Your pooler asked what the memorial meant to him, prompting Biden to recall his own life’s tragedy. VP paused repeatedly as he answered in an emotional, solemn fashion.
Biden staff initially tried to shoo the pool away when the queston was posed, but the vp wanted to answer.
“It means,” he said, pausing. “I’ll tell you what it means. It means to me that – it reminds you how precious life is. And that – you know I think of those kids, but I also think of their parents. No child should predecease their parents. I remember what it’s like. [Pause] It brings back, [pause] It brings back memories. Whether it’s that call, out of the blue that you get, and it’s like how could this happen.”
CBS producer Rodney Hawkins asked Biden about the recent shootings, prompting VP staff to again shoo the pool.
Biden didn’t answer this time. We were then on our way back to the vans.
Biden, who after a series of gaffes is facing increasing scrutiny about whether he is mentally up to serving again as vice president, had already misstated the century earlier in the day.