For a hot minute, it looked like Joe Biden might have lost Al Sharpton. And just as quickly, Sharpton returned to the fold.
Biden has another possible entry to Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, along with his open-mic boast to President Obama in 2010 that passage of Obamacare was "a big f***ing deal." (audio clip after page break)
That time Biden was vulgar. This time he was obscene.
Speaking before a largely black audience in Danville, Va., on Tuesday, Biden said this --
(Romney) said in the first 100 days, he's going to let the big banks once again write their own rules -- unchain Wall Street. (Pause, then affecting Southern accent). They're going to put y'all back in chains.
Sharpton's response was initially surprising before becoming kneejerk predictable. Here he is on his radio show yesterday speaking with David A. Wilson, managing editor of theGrio.com (audio and transcript courtesy of Brian Maloney at Radio Equalizer) --
SHARPTON: I think that unquestionably (Biden) is speaking in front of a black crowd, but I think he said the middle class. I think he clearly did not say blacks whereas they (Republicans) have been more direct, so I don't think it's a double standard. I think it was, I think he used the wrong term, I think he might have been over the top. But what, hateful? If he was referring to the middle class, even in front of a black audience, I don't know how you make that hateful.
WILSON: Yeah, yeah, I, you know, I don't know, I don't know. I mean, if (laughs) it is one of those things where I think they're just simply trying to, uh ...
SHARPTON: Reach ...
WILSON: ... reach and they're trying to, to sort of, uh, tag this onto President Obama. One of the things I've noticed about Mitt Romney's campaign stump speech is saying how divisive President Obama is and I think that's a line that the Republican Party is going to really try to stick to ...
WILSON: ... saying that President Obama is promoting hatred and divisiveness. Uh, so, you know, I, I don't know how that's going to stick and I doubt it will, but it's certainly something that they're trying to make.
SHARPTON: And I also think that we should deal with the fact that even if they're, let's say they're not being political and I think they are, even if they really thought this was some borderline hate statement, they'd have more credibility if they said -- and we should stop saying things too. But to just jump on Biden when you are out there with birther and out there with food stamp president and out there with, you know, I told them they're not getting more free stuff, and act like there's nothing wrong with that but I'm gonna take this stretch here, is crazy.
I mean, I've said things that I've said, no, I shouldn't have said that and therefore I can question him about food stamp president, but you can't give yourself immunity and then turn around and jump on somebody else without people saying, wait a minute, you don't have the moral standing to take that position.
WILSON: Yeah, yeah, I, it, and that's so true. I mean, I think that, you know, uh, the Romney campaign, they can't complain about anyone using racially charged rhetoric when they've been the, you know, they've been the main ones doing it.
Hardly a surprise that Sharpton doesn't see Biden's remark as "hateful," seeing how he's built a career as shakedown artist saying things just like it.