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There's all this talk about Biden's "gaffe", loose lips from Blabbermouth Joe. Was it? No way. It was a thoroughly planned and brilliantly played operation, and worked perfectly to do what they wanted.

Why do I say this? Here's what I think happened, and why I feel this was all carefully scripted to achieve the results the administration decided it wanted.

First, Biden's interview was set up so this would certainly come up. He didn't have to do that.

Then he apologized, again very publicly, keeping the conversation going.

Finally, after all that got the conversation rolling nicely among the Very Serious People, there was Obama's ABC interview. The tell for me was, the administration called ABC and asked to set that up. Not the other way around. That said to me they wanted this. If they wanted it to go away they would never have done that.

So why did they want this? I have a feeling they decided that Obama was looking too technocrat and not inspirational enough, that he needed to recapture the big-vision thing that drove the 2008 campaign. Get back that larger than life inspirational aura. I'm guessing their thinking was, it worked then, and it will work now. Look for more big-vision things in the months leading up to the election, I'd predict.

Initially it seemed edgy and risky. Everyone was blown away when he first came out in favor of marriage equality. But look at all the poll analysis since then. There is broad agreement that looking at the numbers, Obama loses almost no votes that he already had or is likely to get, and may gain some votes for vision and boldness points.

It looks to me like a deftly planned, well analyzed, and flawlessly executed way to do what they wanted it to do - change the conversation, energize the troops, paint Mitt into a corner, and enhance Obama's image as a visionary leader with the target demographics he wants to reach.

You think they didn't figure all that out in advance? Ha. Obama is Mr. Long Game. They knew exactly what they were doing. This was a carefully analyzed and edgy-looking but surprisingly safe play.

To do this they relied on Biden's gaffe/blabbermouth reputation as the setup, where Biden, lord love him, graciously agreed to play the fall guy in this, to get the ball rolling. Was it an accident? No way. Look at how smoothly this administration has run, for years. No Drama Obama and all that. Yes, I know Obama said that Joe was out ahead of his skis or whatever. That was part of it too. Remember how Obama demonstrated his acting chops at the White House Correspondents Dinner?  He certainly can't now say it was all planned, can he?

No, it looks to me like a nicely planned and well played operation. I strongly doubt that this was a gaffe.


Was it a gaffe?

11%9 votes
77%59 votes
7%6 votes
2%2 votes

| 76 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  I also think there may be some (7+ / 0-)

    fellow travellers at the Washington Post who tipped the WH to the Romey bullying story about to drop. (I've read elsewhere that WP had been working the story for quite some time.)

    Knowing the Romney as homophobic bully story was about to hit the press would have allowed Biden and Obama to get out in front of it so they would not be seen as 'piling on' (as might have been the case were their support for  marriage equality announced after the WP story dropped).

    •  Could very well be (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cedwyn, US Blues, MKSinSA

      Didn't want to go there in my diary, got a little too CT, I think diaries should be at least somewhat supportable with facts and links. (Unless it's a good rant, gotta love a good rant :)

      But yeah, the WaPo bullying story might well have been a factor. Kind of turns it into a one-two punch, doesn't it? If that's what happened, again, nicely played.

      I imagine we'll find out in, oh, about five years when the memoirs start coming out. I'm looking forward to that.

    •  That sounds closer to it to me. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      some other george, Gooserock, wasatch

      The too much technocrat/not enough inspiration isn't right, unless you haven't seen his recent campaign speeches. Pretty strong and inspirational. I've heard numerous times from the villagers that he intended to make a statement prior to the convention. It wasn't his intent to do it this early. I've also heard that the campaign wants to show a clear contrast between the president and Romney. If they had prior knowledge about the bully story, they indeed played this well.

      Your left is my right---Mort Sahl

      by HappyinNM on Sun May 13, 2012 at 08:10:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  So after all these years, Obama (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Adam B

      decides to come out for gay marriage now, because there is a story being worked on by a reporter that Mitt Romney was a bully in high school?

      Honestly, these theories are getting more and more outlandish.

      •  I guess I should elaborate. Please bear with me. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        some other george, MKSinSA, rmx2630

        Assume that the Obama administration had already decided to come out for marriage equality, perhaps in the weeks leading up to the Democratic National Convention.

        Assume further that someone at the WPost tips the Obama admin that the story about Romney bulling a student BECAUSE HE WAS GAY is about to drop.

        All the Obama admin needed to do was push up their announcement timing, so as not to appear to be 'piling on' by making their announcement after the WP story.

        Not nefarious or outlandish, just good, clear strategic thinking. By way of historical analogy, consider the Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln had drafted it fairly early in the Civil War but did not want to release it at the time for fear of it seeming a desperation move given Northern battlefield defeats in the Eastern theater. So Lincoln puts the EP in a desk drawer until the Union wins a decisive victory at AntietamSharpsburg.

        In both cases, Lincoln's EP and Obama's Marriage Equality, the timing of the announcement is everything.

        •  Wash Post timing is curious to me (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Seems like the Romney bullying story would've been more like weekend news than a weekday story.

          I don't know what to make of it, but it seems odd.

        •  I do think there was some planning in this... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joy of Fishes, some other george

          but I don't think the Post bullying story about Mitt played a role.

          Charlie Pierce at Esquire had some interesting thoughts on the matter soon after Obama made his stance known via ABC's interview.

          I do not believe for a moment, as the combined propaganda apparatus of both the White House and NBC News are going to sell it, that David Gregory, out of the clear blue sky, asked Joe Biden about gay marriage on Meet The Press last Sunday without knowing he was going to get a whopper of an answer. (Sometimes, it can be very useful to have a vice president with a reputation as a motormouth.) I also don't believe that the Morning Zoo crew on MSNBC just happened to wonder what Secretary of Education Arne Duncan thought about the whole deal a couple of days later. I don't think it was any coincidence that the North Carolina vote on an egregiously gratuitous ban on not only gay marriage, but also of civil unions, happened the day before the president hustled to sit down with ABC this afternoon. I think somebody on Pennsylvania Avenue — or, perhaps, from the campaign HQ in Chicago — whispered a little somethin'-somethin' to someone at 30 Rock, knowing what was going to happen in North Carolina, to get the ball rolling. I am not riding down the thruway in a turnip truck.
          More than anything, the event that makes me think this thing was orchestrated was the statement by Arne Duncan.  You can give Biden a bye 'cuz he was bing "loose lipped Joe," but when Biden AND Duncan come out with supportive statements so close to each other on an issue which is SO contentious, it is really hard to believe that both of them decided on their own, right after the NC referendum results, to "get out over their skis."

          I really think this was planned....and as it turns out, I think it caused all kinds of good...issue, timing, constituencies, positioning, tone, comparisons between candidates.....

          Free markets would be a great idea, if markets were actually free.

          by dweb8231 on Sun May 13, 2012 at 11:21:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  In case it isn't obvious (5+ / 0-)

    I am fully in support of this, and of Obama. It's well planned and well executed operations like this that will put us over the line in November. I think we'll see more like this, too. Rmoney won't know what hit him.

  •  add predictible NC vote for HATE, and Viola! (8+ / 0-)

    11 Dimensional Chess at its finest!

    No doubt this was a planned strategy, as was the timing of the HHS No-Copay Birth Control policy.

    Know your enemy's weaknesses, which are:

    1) knee-jerk reactionaryism
    2) predictable obstructionism
    3) pandering to the EVILangelicals via hate- and fear-mongering

  •  Biden out Hillary in (0+ / 0-)

    Here is a really crazy senario. Biden becomes the fall guy for this, but it goes even further. Prominent democrats come out and chastise him for his loose lips. That has already happened. It becomes overwhelming for him and he steps asdie for the good of the team and Hillary steps in. Now that would be a game changer.

  •  Nah. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Adam B

    Biden is not capable of carrying out such a complex assignment. And no one would be so foolish as to assign to him such a complex assignment. When Biden says something he wasn't supposed to, he is saying something he wasn't supposed to. It's as simple as that.

    •  Well, yes, he's capable of it ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gooserock, VClib

      ... but the diary's first premise is wrong: there was no particular reason to expect the Vice President to be asked about marriage equality in that interview.

      •  Wait, Wasn't It Just Before the NC Vote? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MKSinSA, rmx2630

        Everybody knew that issue was on the ballot in the state where the Dem convention will be held.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Sun May 13, 2012 at 09:50:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not the context in which he was asked, though. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wasatch, VClib
          DAVID GREGORY:
          Is it going to be a close election?

          Well, I think it may be close-- electorally.  I think all these elections are close.  As my grandfather, Finnegan, would-- used to say.  He was a good athlete.  And he said, "Joe, remember, any team can beat any other team on any given day."  But-- they're going to need a better game plan than the one they have now about how they're going to restore the economy by removing-- by going back to-- to the policies of the previous eight years.  They're going to need a better social policy than takin' the social policy back to the '50s.  And they're going to need a better foreign policy than-- than one that says "The Cold War's still goin' on."  I mean, it's just-- in-- in my view, anyway.

          DAVID GREGORY:
          You raise social policy.  I'm curious.  You know, the president has said that his views on gay marriage, on same-sex marriage have evolved.  But he's opposed to it.  You're opposed to it.  Have your views-- evolved?

          Look-- I just think-- that-- the good news is that as more and more Americans become to understand what this is all about is a simple proposition...

  •  The way it's being spun in the Village is that (3+ / 0-)

    Biden went too far, and the administration had to scramble to get in front of it.  All the Village stories from "inside sources" say the administration was pissed at Biden.

    I think he was planning on doing this at the Convention--and think about how THAT would have been staged and received.

    Now he has to do something else.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Sun May 13, 2012 at 08:27:44 AM PDT

  •  And all of that walking-back (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SwedishJewfish, valion, wasatch, FG, erush1345

    by Axelrod was all an act, all a part of a grand strategy on the chessboard? The administration just let the blogosphere blow up while Axelrod, Cutter, and Carney melt down in the national spotlight, only to follow it up with a hastily planned ABC interview?

    I just can't buy it. I think Biden just spoke from his heart and it forced the administration into an awkward position. Why, of all places, would Obama choose in advance to come out for marriage equality in an ABC interview on a random Wednesday morning? It doesn't make sense. Not everything is orchestrated. The President is smart, yes, but not everything has to be a chess maneuver.

    Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is found in only one. Which one seems unnatural now?

    by Chrislove on Sun May 13, 2012 at 08:39:20 AM PDT

  •  It wasn't a gaffe, although maybe not planned... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chrislove, some other george, wasatch

    What Biden said isn't a "gaffe" because it wasn't a mistake, or wasn't something stupid to say. Biden was asked about same sex marriage, and gave his view. The only other option was to dodge the question, so I don't see how giving an honest answer is a "gaffe".

    But that's what lazy media called it. The corporate media has always not been kind to Biden, going waaaaay back to the "plagiarism" incident in the 80's, a scandal which the media invented and then trumped up with lies. The MSM always tries to use Biden as a punching bag.

    Biden's statement wasn't planned. He just answered a question. So it wasn't planned, but it's not a "gaffe". It was just Biden being Biden.  MSM has zero credibility right now in my book.

    "I read this- Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I read every last word of this garbage, and because of this piece of $#!^ I'm never reading again!"-Officer Barbrady

    by Broke And Unemployed on Sun May 13, 2012 at 08:55:16 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for the post (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Urizen, some other george, MKSinSA

    I thought so, too. Biden's other "gaffes" have been relaxed, un-scripted moments. The answer in the interview seemed to me to be very scripted and deliberate.

    Tipped and recd!!

    To understand the reality you live is human; to understand the reality others live is humane. May we all lead with our humanity, and look on each other with empathy.

    by SueM1121 on Sun May 13, 2012 at 09:17:05 AM PDT

  •  Whether planned by the WH or not (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    some other george

    Biden's gaffe meant that most of the uproar from the press and the right was pretty well used up by the time Obama made his declaration.

    Biden's a pretty savvy politician and he may have decided to take the first rounds from the firing squad himself at the same time as putting the WH in the position of having to finally step across the line in the sand that they themselves had drawn.

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