DES MOINES — Joe Biden said Saturday that he misspoke when he botched a line about poor children and white children while campaigning in Iowa this week, adding that he doubted anyone misunderstood him.
“Look, I misspoke,” Biden told reporters at a gun violence forum here. “I meant to say ‘wealthy.’ I’ve said it 15 [times]. On the spot, I explained it. At that very second, I explained it. And so, the fact of the matter is that I don’t think anybody thinks that I meant anything other than what I said I meant.”
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Biden’s remarks came after the former vice president said during an event in Iowa on Thursday, “Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids,” then quickly added, “wealthy kids, black kids, Asian kids.”
That same day, Biden flubbed a line at the Iowa State Fair, providing ammunition for President Donald Trump’s supporters to jeer him on social media when he said, “We choose truth over facts.”
Some Democrats have expressed concern about Biden’s propensity to gaffe, fearful of any shortcoming in the general election campaign against Trump.
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, one of Biden’s many presidential competitors, said of Biden’s remarks about poor children and white children, “It was wrong. As a frontrunner, if we want to beat Donald Trump, we’ve got to get it right … Everybody makes mistakes, but we can’t afford those gaffes if we want to beat Donald Trump.”
Still, Biden’s history of verbal blunders goes back years, and the Democratic electorate may be more forgiving than Bullock. Biden has consistently led the Democratic pack in polls since he launched his campaign.
Asked Saturday about Sen. Elizabeth Warren gaining ground in the race and about the competition in Iowa, Biden said that he has amassed more than 500,000 individual contributions and is “raising the money to actually put together a staff.”
He called the race a “marathon” and said poll numbers will “go up and down and up and down.”
He said he will “just try to be as authentic as I can, let people know who I am.”