Obama Misspeaks, Calls Biden ‘The Next President’; Biden Calls Obama ‘Barack America’

By Jennifer Parker

Aug 23, 2008 4:52pm

ABC News’ Sara Just reports: Journalists who were awake until the wee hours waiting for confirmation that Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., was indeed Barack Obama’s running mate, cannot be blamed if their hearing is a little fuzzy today.

But after today’s Obama-Biden speeches to a massive crowd in Springfield, Ill., many reporters are rolling back the tape and asking each other, "Did he really say that?"

When introducing his running mate, Obama said, "So let me introduce to you the next president - the next vice president of the US of America, Joe Biden."

And then when it was Biden’s turn to speak, the Delaware senator called the presumptive Democratic nominee "Barack America" instead of Barack Obama.

"My friends, I don’t have to tell you, this election year the choice is clear. One man stands ready to deliver change we desperately need. A man I’m proud to call my friend. A man who will be the next president of the United States, Barack America,” Biden said, per ABC News’ Sunlen Miller.

However the official Obama campaign transcript of Biden’s remarks sent to reporters omitted part of the misspeak, reading: "A man who will be the next president of the United States, Barack Amer – You know, you learn a lot of things being up close with a guy."

Then, later in his speech, Biden jokingly referred to his wife’s PhD as a "problem." Biden was clearly having a playful moment with his wife, who he also referred to as "drop dead gorgeous."

"Ladies and gentlemen, my wife Jill, who you’ll meet soon, is drop dead gorgeous. My wife Jill, who you’ll meet soon, she also has her doctorate degree, which is a problem," Biden said, "But all kidding aside, my Jill, my Jill, my wife Jill and I are honored to join Barack and Michelle on this journey, because that’s what it is. it’s a journey."

The Republican war machine jumped on the first misstatement, with the McCain campaign releasing the following statement within minutes of the Springfield event’s close: “Barack Obama sounded as though he turned over the top spot on the ticket today to his new mentor, when he introduced Joe Biden as the next president.  The reality is that nothing has changed since Joe Biden first made his assessment that Barack Obama is not ready to lead.   He wasn’t ready then and he isn’t ready now,” McCain spokesman Ben Porrit said.

The press will not have a lot of time to study the Democratic running mates’ style or stumbles on stage together this week.

Despite previous plans to campaign with his veep-pick in battleground states, Obama will pass through those swing states alone this week, as Biden heads back to his home state of Delaware to prepare his speech for the convention and the most important political speech of his career, at least so far.

The duo will not appear again together until Thursday night when they are slated to accept their party’s nominations.

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