I like to pick on Democrats as much as the next guy, and Biden is easy to pick on. But having listened to the audio of the interview in question, I don't think it was as bad as it initially seemed from the transcript.
Listen to it here, and see for yourself.
It seems to me that for lack of a better term, there should be a comma in there. He is stating two separate thoughts:
- Here is the first mainstream African-American candidate; and,
- That candidate happens also to be articulate, bright, clean and nice-looking.
Clearly, there are problems with the adjectives he used to describe Obama. In America today, you cannot describe an African-American as 'articulate.' Of course, you can't describe him as 'inarticulate' either. To call him 'clean' is just... weird. But I can accept that Biden was in some way commenting on his almost boy scout image. I'll also allow that Biden has given people reason to think that he might be a closet racist (his Indian 7-11 and Dunkin Donut comment comes to mind). Some will also be offended by the suggestion that neither Jesse Jackson nor Al Sharpton is mainstream. I tend to regard that as self-evident.
Say what you will about the guy: he's a plagiarizer, he's a bad Senator, he's wrong on Iraq, or he's a confirmed boor. But to me, what Biden is saying in this interview is defensible. It may be clumsy, but I don't see anything in the delivery that suggests that racism is behind it.
I don't know how much it matters of course; it's not as if Biden has any chance of getting elected President.
Hat Tip: Allah