If once is an aberration, and twice a trend, what's three times?
The first time Joe Biden told Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace that he was "praying," it got my attention. By the third time - using the variant "I pray to God" - I was thoroughly curious. Then something happened at the end of the interview that might provide a clue as to Joe's sudden bout of religiosity.
By the way, Biden claimed to be 'praying' in response to various pieces of evidence that Wallace confronted him with suggesting that, at long last, the security situation in Iraq might be improving. Biden repeatedly responded that he was 'praying' that Wallace was right, all the time suggesting that in fact there was no real reason for optimism.
So, what provided the clue? As the interview started to draw to a close, Wallace alluded to the fact that Biden was conducting the interview from . . . South Carolina, where he is laying the groundwork for his eventual Dem presidential primary run.
That Biden needs an image alteration was brought home by Wallace's question, as to how a "Northeast liberal" like Biden could compete in a primary with southerners like Mark Warner in a conservative southern state like South Carolina. I have a feeling Biden figured letting people know he's doing a whole lot of prayin' might be a good start.
An odd aside: to further distance himself from the "Northeast liberal" millstone that Wallace hung around his neck, Biden took pains to point out that not only had his home state of Delaware been a border state, but indeed "a slave state." Seemed a strange way for Joe to establish his southern street cred.
Finkelstein lives in the liberal haven of Ithaca, NY, where he hosts 'Right Angle,' an award-winning public-access TV show. Contact him at email@example.com