Interviewed at his Operation PUSH office in Chicago yesterday, Jackson said he had just gotten off the phone with Biden, NBC's Patrice Fletcher reporters. "...[I]t really was a gaffe," Jackson said. "I know Joe Biden to be a decent guy who overstepped his, who overstepped in his speech, and I hope that we can now early on get on to what he has to offer in such a good way." More Jackson: "The big issues upon us now is (sic) end the war and end poverty. But in a campaign, a misstep such as this can be fatal unless you correct it real soon." Asked if Biden offered an apology or a clarification: "Really more of a clarification. He need not, this is not …you cannot compare what Joe Biden did in this misstatement with, say, Trent Lott and his embrace of Strom Thurmond... You cannot compare this gaffe with a statement embracing that kind of philosophy and ideology."
Although overshadowed by the questions on the Observer article, Biden spent the remainder of his conference call with reporters yesterday arguing that his experience is needed to fix the problems the Bush Administration has caused around the world. "I can stem the tide of this slide and restore America's leadership in the world." Asked about what he has learned since his last presidential bid, in 1988, he replied: "I've learned to how to take a punch" -- a quality that will come in handy after yesterday.
The Hill notes that Biden's comments about Obama didn't only overshadow Biden's own big announcement yesterday, but they also overshadowed Obama's new bill that would criminalize election fraud. The paper calls it "his third momentum-building effort in two weeks," since he announced his exploratory committee.
Roll Call's Rothenberg says yes, Clinton can indeed win the presidency, despite naysayers who point to her higher-than-average negative ratings. "Clinton isn't the only hopeful with weaknesses to strengthen and questions to answer," he writes. "Polling released over the past few weeks doesn't support the argument that Clinton is unelectable."
Clinton has canceled her first appearance in New Hampshire as a presidential candidate, which was to be this weekend. Her husband's stepfather has passed away.
And the AP reports that Al Franken (D) has decided to run for Norm Coleman's (R) Senate seat in Minnesota. "The news was not unexpected. Franken has been calling members of the Minnesota congressional delegation to get their input on a run, and he announced this week that he would be leaving his show on Air America Radio on Feb. 14. He told listeners he would be making a decision on a race soon."