Thursday, March 18, 2010

Biden Buries, Then Unburies, Irish Prime Minister's Mother

We thought you put your foot in your mouth Elisabeth. That was nothing compared to this.


Yesterday evening at the White House there was a St. Patrick's Day reception that included, among others, President Obama, Vice President Biden and Brian Cowen, the prime minister of Ireland, a title officially called the Taoiseach.

Biden is Irish and the nation's first Catholic vice president, and so he was in an especially ebullient mood. But, as we've seen before, he can sometimes be too ebullient.

Here's what he said, courtesy the office of the White House press secretary. Check out the fourth graf:

Good evening, everyone. Mr. President, Mrs. Obama, the Taoiseach, Mrs. Cowen. Welcome to the White House and welcome, all of you, to the White House.

You know, as I said to some of my friends at the Vice President's residence this morning at a breakfast, there's an old saying -- there's an old saying that goes like this: If you're lucky enough to be Irish, well, you're lucky enough. (Laughter and applause.)

I was telling the Taoiseach earlier today, one of my favorite cartoons to explain to the Irish-Irish what we American-Irish are like was one handed to me, Mr. President, by Pat Moynihan about 15, 18 years ago. It was The New Yorker Magazine and it was a picture of Pat and Mike sitting in a pub in New York. And Pat looks at Mike and says, "Mike, don't you wish you were in a pub in Dublin wishing you were in a pub in New York?" (Laughter.) You understand that about us, you got it all straight, Taoiseach.

But the Taoiseach knows a lot about it. His mom lived in Long Island for 10 years or so -- God rest her soul and -- although, wait, your mom is still alive, it's your dad passed. God bless her soul. (Laughter.) I got to get this straight.

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