Biden's Green Bay Gaffe: Claims Only 1,980 Troops Have Died in Afghanistan

ABC reporter Arlette Saenz reported for The Note on Joe Biden’s speech Sunday in the Green Bay area, including this statement: "In Afghanistan, we have lost 1,980 fallen angels as of yesterday, and I’m precise because every single one of those lives deserves to be recognized. Wrong: The U.S. death toll in Afghanistan at the end of August was 2,101.

Biden somehow subtracted from the Defense Department count, ignoring three civilian casualties and 118 soldiers who died in other countries after medical evacuation. Did they not deserve to be recognized?

Saenz led with Biden attacking Paul Ryan for failing to admit in his convention speech that he was a member of the Simpson-Bowles deficit commission. 

She also missed Biden’s strange tangent about the Green Bay Packers at the beginning of the speech, where he claimed his Catholic high school teachers in Wilmington, Delaware – from the Norbertine religious order originating from the Green Bay area – taught that Vince Lombardi was included in the Sign of the Cross and the twelve Apostles were Packer greats. Then he added to this picture of Packer idolatry at a Catholic school, "I’m not kidding!"

"We always started homeroom with a prayer in the Catholic schools. And in our school it would go ‘In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost and Vince Lombardi, and it would go from there,’" he said.

"I tell ya, homeroom in the fall at Archmere Academy was a lot different than any other time of the year. That’s when we learned the names of the twelve Apostles – Bart Starr, Paul Hornung, Jimmy Taylor, Max McGee, Boyd Dowler, Ray Nitschke, Willie Davis, Herb Adderly, Don Chandler, you get the point. That’s all we heard about, man! You think I’m kidding? I’m not kidding!"

It might be a little shocking to Catholic parents that their religious teachers were so NFL-obsessed that they were replacing Peter and James and John with Starr and Hornung and Max McGee.

PS: If you wanted to be nerdy, you could note that Adderly was drafted in 1961, the year Biden graduated from the high school, so he probably shouldn’t be on the "apostle" list of the priests.

PPS: The Wausau Daily Herald offered no gaffe coverage in its story, just the campaign spin: "There is not a single doubt in my mind that we're on our way to rebuilding this country stronger than it was before this recession," Biden said. "We're on our way to rebuilding the middle class, more vibrant than it was before. Because I know given half a chance, the American people never, ever, ever let the country down."

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis