Biden counsels panic

If you can keep your wits about you while all others are losing theirs, your name is not Joe Biden:

Vice president Joe Biden said today he would tell his family members not to use subways in the U.S. and implied schools should be shuttered as the swine flu outbreak spread to 16 states. His remarks quickly caused a stir, drawing a rebuke from New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg and later leading the White House to apologize.

The uproar began when Biden appeared on NBC’s “Today” show and said he would advise against riding the subway or taking commercial flights and implied schools should be shuttered amid confirmation of the first swine-flu relation death in the U.S.

“I wouldn’t go anywhere in confined places now,” Biden said when Matt Lauer asked whether he would advise family members to use public transportation.

(Via Moe Lane, via Instapundit.)

BONUS: No Biden gaffe is complete without the laughable “clarification”:

Biden’s office later sought to clarify his remarks by saying he was only urging sick people to avoid planes and trains.

Right, that explains his advice to his family members.

UPDATE: Robert Gibbs must be frustrated, given such crap to work with:

“What the vice president meant to say was the same thing that many members have said in the last few days,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said. “And that is, if you feel sick, are exhibiting flu-like symptoms….that you should take precautions, that you should limit your travel.” . . .

“I know what he said, and I am telling you what he meant to say,” he said.

Er, yeah.  He meant to be giving a different answer than he gave, in response to a different question than he was asked.  Aside from that, he was spot on.

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