Biden shows frustration at being reined in

November 2, 2008

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden displayed some frustration at being tightly managed by the Obama campaign for fear he might go “off message.”

Speaking to students at the University of Florida in Gainesville Sunday, Biden appeared to stray from the text in front of him and took his eyes off the teleprompter.

What he said was not controversial — that he was more passionate about America’s prospects than when he first ran for the Senate in 1972 — but it was obviously not in the prepared script.

“I believe the possibilities for this country are absolutely amazing and stop moving the prompter,” he told his staff from the podium, referring to the teleprompter.

“There is a prompter that I hardly ever read. They put it up to make me sound disciplined,” Biden quipped to the crowd.

The usually loquacious Biden has been unusually disciplined during the campaign, avoiding wordy speeches and seeking to stay “on message” as Barack Obama’s running mate.

His biggest gaffe so far has been to say that if Obama wins, he will be tested in his first six months, a comment Republican John McCain seized on as he argued that the first-term Illinois senator is too inexperienced to be president.

Biden has had limited interaction with the small group of reporters traveling with him but insisted in an impromptu news conference on Friday that he had not been “muzzled” by the Obama campaign.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage

Photo Credit: REUTERS/Jason Reed. Biden and Obamappear at a campaign rally in Sunrise, Florida, on Oct. 29, 2008.


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

There were a decent amount of McCain supporters being blocked off by the Obama folks on the outskirts of this rally.

the big surprise came when the Nader folks showed up. Very enthusiastic and a delight to speak too. They made many valid points and one of them was the fact that we were supporting on the of biggest hawks in the Democratic party, a man who drafted the PATRIOT ACT, and pushed the Bankruptcy bill through. Now that I see Obama is going to win, I feel I must vote for Nader, out of principle and everything I believe in. I am not satisfied with this new democratic party, that continues to push bills and actions through that are contradictory to everything we progressives believe in. I am voting for Nader to send a clear message. We will be holding you accountable!!!

I am glad that the Nader folks showed up and let me say there is some very rude and nasty Obama supporters who also happen to really turn me off.

Posted by ACUTS | Report as abusive

i was at the Joe Biden rally in Gainesville and witnessed some alarming things ass well. I watched secret service remove people for wearing Mccain or Nader shirts. I also saw many Obama supporters shoving and getting violent. One woman punched a Nader supporter in the back of the head and told her to put her sign down. It was appalling and i think i might be changing my vote as well!!

Posted by bellaboo | Report as abusive