"Swine flu is on the loose! Stay in homes, lock all the doors, cover your windows with plastic sheeting and duct tape, and by all means if you have to leave your home, don't use the subway or fly on airplanes or you will die!"
Okay, okay... so maybe that isn't exactly what Joe Biden said this morning on The Today Show, but it was something similar and now the White House is working hard to stop the gaffe machine story before it really gains traction.
CNN reports this evening that Press Secretary Robert Gibbs had to spend much of the afternoon spinning, retracting, and clarifying what VP Biden "really meant to say."
Here is Reuter's take on the actual events this morning:
Asked on NBC's "Today" show what he would tell members of his family if they asked him whether they should get on a commercial airliner to Mexico in the next week, Biden said:
"I would tell members of my family -- and I have -- I wouldn't go anywhere in confined places now."
He said the problem is that "when one person sneezes it goes all the way through the aircraft."
"I would not be, at this point, if they had another way of transportation, suggesting they ride the subway. So from my perspective, what it relates to is mitigation," he said.
Anyone who knows Joe Biden, or has followed his campaigns, should not be surprised. In fact, the White House should be happy he hasn't done anything else this silly yet.
Now if you will excuse me, I am off to buy a hazmat suit before I use the city transit system. Why? 'Cuz Joe said so. Oh, he meant that figuratively? Oops.