Was it just another slip of the tongue by Vice President Joe Biden, or a preview of the next presidential campaign in 2016?
Hours before he and President Barack Obama were due to be sworn in for their second four-year terms, Biden told supporters at the Iowa State Society inauguration ball late Saturday: “I’m proud to be president of the United States.”
The audience laughed and then cheered. Biden’s son Beau, Delaware’s attorney general, interrupted his father and told the crowd he had misspoken.
Although Biden will be a few days short of his 74th birthday on the next election day in 2016, he has hinted he is considering a run for president.
Biden’s unannounced appearance at the “First in the Nation” ball in Washington was not too surprising.
The state was a key to the Obama-Biden team’s victory over Republicans Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in the Nov. 6 election.
And because Iowa is an early battleground in the state-by-state process that determines the political parties’ candidates for president, any big party thrown by state officials this weekend was virtually certain to draw at least one or two potential contenders for the White House in 2016.
Biden, known for the occasional gaffe on the campaign trail, corrected himself, and returned to a favorite line from the fall campaign.
“I’m proud to be vice president of the United States,” he said, “but I am prouder to be Barack Obama’s, President Barack Obama’s, vice president.”
He went on to say he had dropped by to thank Iowans for supporting the Democratic ticket in the election.
“I came to say thank you,” Biden told those gathered at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, a short walk from the White House. “Just simply thank you.”