There is perhaps nobody in politics more capable of thoroughly demolishing an opponent while holding a great big smile on his face than Vice President Joe Biden. Just ask Paul Ryan, who was systematically and painfully dismantled on national television during the 2012 Vice Presidential debate. And while Ryan stammered, Biden didn’t even break a sweat.
So it should come as no surprise that while in Aspen to promote his cancer research “moonshot,” Biden saw an opportunity to take Newt Gingrich down a few pegs and jumped on it.
Sitting down with host Walter Isaacson, Biden paused the opening remarks when he noticed Gingrich in the crowd. Stopping the event in its tracks, Biden turned to the former Republican politician and asked him flatly, “Are you gonna do it?” The audience burst into laughter.
Biden was, of course, referring to recent rumors that Gingrich is on the top of the short list to be Donald Trump’s pick for vice president. Speculation only intensified after Gingrich seemingly dumped all of his former criticisms of Trump and went on record as supporting a number of things Trump has said that he wouldn’t have been caught dead standing behind just months ago – including the dismantling of NAFTA, a trade agreement Gingrich helped create.
It is perhaps this embarrassing about-face that Biden wanted to needle Gingrich with while in Aspen. Gingrich then managed to set up a hilarious dig at his (potentially) future boss in a legendary exchange.
Biden: “Newt, are you going to do it?”
Gingrich: “Should I?”
Biden: “I think [Trump] needs the help, yes.”
In a mind-boggling twist, several Republicans began spinning what was clearly a joke at Trump’s expense as Biden “endorsing” Gingrich for VP. Calling this a real endorsement would be like praising the friendship of a person who encouraged you to become co-captain of the Titanic after it hit the iceberg. There’s a reason Trump is having a very hard time finding people to join his campaign – who wants to go down with that rapidly sinking ship?
In what might have been another thing to make Gingrich take pause, Biden went on to describe the loving and respect relationship he’s had working with President Obama. According to Biden’s recollection, the only reason he felt he could accept the job of vice president was because he had absolute trust in the man he would be working with for the next eight years. Could Gingrich say the same for Donald Trump?
After sparing a moment to burn Gingrich, Biden returned to the real reason he was in Aspen. In an hour-long talk, Biden spoke at length about the importance of cancer research, the quest for a cure, and the need for awareness. It’s safe to say that while Gingrich sat politely through the talk, his mind was probably elsewhere – freaking out.
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