From NBC's Mike Memoli
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- This is one comparison John McCain won't mind.
As Biden tried to tie McCain to President Bush this morning, he slipped and referred the Republican nominee as "John McLane." He immediately recognized the mistake, and tried to roll with it.
"I don't recognize him anymore. I used to know him well," he said, before acknowledging it was "a bad joke." The crowd laughed politely, anyway.
All kidding aside, as Biden would say, he continued on, saying that in the course of this campaign the American people have seen that there is "not one fundamental economic issue" where McCain and the president disagree.
"I know we're not running against George Bush," he said. "But we are running against the very economic policies John McCain is promising to continue to push forward." And borrowing what he said was one of his mother's expressions, he joked: "If it walks like a duck, if it looks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, it's a duck! … John McCain and Sarah Palin are quacking like George Bush!"
At the first of three events in the Tar Heel State, Biden also attempted to incorporate some NASCAR lingo into his stump, though the lines mostly fell flat to the crowd at UNC-Charlotte's Halton Arena.
"Right now, our campaigns are trading a little paint. But what worries me most is the McCain campaign seems to have gotten a little loose," he said, to only scattered laughs. "Not a lot of NASCAR fans in here," he conceded. "John's getting a little loose. He doesn't have much of a steady hand these days. And now, and now's the time, now's the time we most need a steady hand."
Republicans tried to do one better. "To offer a more accurate NASCAR analogy than Biden did: If Obama wins, he will raise taxes and our economy will go from a yellow to red flag," RNC spokesperson Alex Conant said in a statement.
Biden has two more opportunities to test his NASCAR lines on Tar Heel crowds, with stops later today in Winston-Salem and Raleigh.