Vice President Joe Biden reacted today to Newt Gingrich's assertion that President Obama may have a "Kenyan, anti-colonial worldview," saying he is "stunned" that Gingrich brought this attack into his "playbook." From an interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow slated to air at 9 p.m. Eastern:
MADDOW: When the punch is insane, when the punch is, "The President is secretly foreign. Or the President is secretly a space alien." Or whatever-- whatever the flavor of the week is in there. What's the best way to punch back? In storytelling, in making effective, memorable news stories about this sort of thing, usually the most fun thing to do is to talk about the person who has come up with that science fiction. Sort of name and shame them. Try to make them famous for it. That's not the way it works in politics, because to do that, you guys would have to be elevating these sort of smear merchants who are coming up with these things. So, how do you respond when the question's about the birth certificate or anything else like that?BIDEN: Well, the way you respond is go and try to focus on the ideas, substantive ideas, the smear merchants are peddling. To point out that this isn't about the accusation they're making, it's about delegitimization to try to give an opportunity for their argument to win without having to make it. And so, it seems to me it's a little bit like-- again, I have known Newt Gingrich for years. I am stunned. I really am. I am stunned he bought into this-- into this playbook. I mean, there is such-- seems like there's such a desperation on the Republican side to pander to the lowest common denominator that-- I just-- it is-- and by the way-- my wife always says-- I say, "Look, I have great faith in the American People's judgment." And she'd look at me and say, you know, "Would you have as much faith had you lost?" (LAUGH)
Here's what Biden was reacting to: Pointing to the recent Forbes cover story entitled "How Obama Thinks," Gingrich told The National Review that author Dinesh D'Souza had made a "stunning insight" into Obama's character and behavior. The former Speaker basically called Obama's cultural status as an American into question. From the National Review's Robert Costa:
"What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]?" Gingrich asks. "That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior.""This is a person who is fundamentally out of touch with how the world works, who happened to have played a wonderful con, as a result of which he is now president," Gingrich tells us."I think he worked very hard at being a person who is normal, reasonable, moderate, bipartisan, transparent, accommodating -- none of which was true," Gingrich continues. "In the Alinksy tradition, he was being the person he needed to be in order to achieve the position he needed to achieve . . . He was authentically dishonest."
Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.