Joe Biden, White House Id

Calling the Boston bombing suspects "perverted jihadis," Biden once again sounded a more emotional note for the administration

If Barack Obama has a bit too much restraint about his persona for the commentariat, Joe Biden is the White House's exuberant and impassioned id. From "This is a big fucking deal!" to remarks that fall in Onion territory, the tactile, voluble vice president has stepped forward at key moments in White House history to say what everyone is thinking (and also, sometimes, to step in it).

Today's example was Biden unleashing a stream of wholly warranted invective at the Boston Marathon bombers. Speaking at memorial services for slain M.I.T. police officer Sean Collier, he called bombers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev "two twisted, perverted, cowardly knock-off jihadis."

"Our very existence makes a lie of their perverted ideology," he said, driving home the point. He later repeated the insult, calling the bombers "these perverted jihadis."

Some asserted he was insensitively diminishing the attack by calling the attackers "knock-off." But there was no question that in repeatedly calling the suspects "perverted jihadis," Biden was once again taking on his designated role as senior administration official who gets to sling it.

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Garance Franke-Ruta is a former senior editor covering national politics at The Atlantic.

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