GOP Senator on Biden: ‘What Is He Thinking?’

By Lindsey Ellerson

Apr 30, 2009 2:30pm

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: On today’s “Top Line,” Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., told us an interesting story about learning of Vice President Joe Biden’s slightly off-message flu comments this morning. Barrasso, a medical doctor, said he was having breakfast with a few other senators and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton when he read about the comments on his BlackBerry. “I couldn’t believe that he had actually said those things, and mentioned it to a couple of other senators after the breakfast. And they said, ‘what is he saying, what is he thinking?’ ” Barrasso told us. “And this was a bipartisan group of senators.” Alas — he didn’t ask the secretary of state for her reaction. “I didn’t mention it to her,” he said. “We were talking about some other issues about world affairs, the Middle East and travels that a number of members of the committee had just done. But I think all of us that saw the vice president’s comments were quite surprised.” Of his personal reaction, Barrasso said: “I’m gonna get on an airplane tomorrow and fly back to Wyoming, and I’m looking forward to getting on that airplane tomorrow.  I have great concerns about what the vice president just mentioned.” Overall, Barrasso said the Obama administration seems to be handling the swine flu scare appropriately. But the president has the Bush administration to thank for that, he said. “I think they’ve gotten it right, but what we really got right was the effort in the last administration to make sure that preventive measures were there, that there would be 50 million doses if you will, or treatment regimens in case of such an epidemic with the flu. So, you know, the preparation is there,” he said. Barrasso also had some intriguing thoughts about the direction of the Republican Party, in the wake of Sen. Arlen Specter’s defection to the Democratic Party. “This is not a time to purify; it’s a time to multiply,” he said. Click HERE to see the full interview with Sen. Barrasso. And click HERE to see our chat with Politico’s Jonathan Martin — on Biden’s gaffe, Wednesday night’s press conference, and the Obama media strategy.

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