Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks in Washington, Tuesday, March 12, 2019, amid growing expectations he’ll soon announce he’s running for president. (Associated Press)
Former Vice President Joe Biden told a Delaware audience Saturday he has the "most progressive" record of any Democrat "running" — or at least considering a run, as Biden isn’t yet officially in the race.
The apparent slip-up came during a speech to members of the state’s Democratic Party, where he argued that recent criticism he’d received from progressives was unfounded.
"I’m told I get criticized by the ‘New Left,’ " Biden told the audience. "I have the most progressive record of anybody running for the … anybody who would run."
Biden, known for past gaffes, quickly corrected himself, clarifying that he meant to say "anybody who would run," then adding "I didn’t mean it" while a cheering crowd in his home state nearly drowned him out.
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There has been much speculation on whether Biden will launch a presidential run and enter the already crowded field of Democrats looking to unseat President Trump.
“We have to bring this country back together again," Biden continued. "The world’s worst dictators are using [the president’s] own words to justify their own abuses of power," he added.
In recent weeks, Biden has taken heat from his own party, most recently for his kind words for current Vice President Mike Pence. In February, while speaking in Omaha. Neb., he commented on the icy reception Pence received at the Munich Security Conference where Pence’s praise for Trump was met with silence.
"The fact of the matter is, it was followed on by a guy who’s a decent guy, our vice president, who stood before this group of allies and leaders and said, ‘I’m here on behalf of President Trump,’ and there was dead silence. Dead silence,” Biden told the audience.
LGBT-rights activist and former New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon slammed Biden for praising Pence.
“You’ve just called America’s most anti-LGBT elected leader ‘a decent guy.’ Please consider how this falls on the ears of our community,” she wrote on Twitter.
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Biden later walked back his comments about Pence.
In January, Biden faced criticism when the New York Times reported that he praised Republican U.S. Rep. Fred Upton during a visit to Upton’s home state of Michigan three weeks before the November midterm elections.
Upton went on to defeat his Democratic opponent by less than 5 percentage points. Some Democrats blamed Biden for the party failing to pick up the seat.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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