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Biden Jokingly Calls Colbert ‘Jimmy Kimmel’, Brushes Off Campaign Trail Misstatements: Not ‘Substantive’

Former Vice President and 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden poked fun at his reputation for misspeaking on the campaign trail with The Late Show‘s Stephen Colbert, intentionally misidentifying the CBS comedian as late-night rival “Jimmy Kimmel” before brushing off his many gaffes as having been “not about anything substantive.”

Biden has come under increasing scrutiny from the press for incorrect or error-filled comments, including the conflation of several different interactions with military members into a favorite campaign anecdote that mixes up nearly every detail.

“You have called yourself a ‘gaffe machine,'” Colbert noted. “In the last few weeks you’ve confused New Hampshire for Vermont. And said Bobby Kennedy and M.L.K. were assassinated in the late 70. And assured us: ‘I’m not going nuts.’ Follow-up question, ‘Are you going nuts?'”

“Look, the reason I came on the Jimmy Kimmel Show is because I’m not,” Biden replied, delivering what was clearly a rehearsed zinger, which elicited a knowing smile from Colbert.

After a beat to give Biden’s joke its due, Colbert pressed: “Is it fair or unfair to get after you because of your gaffes?”

“Look, I think it’s fair to go after a political figure for anything, OK?” Biden said, now giving a serious answer. “Any gaffe that I have made— and I’ve made gaffes, like every politician I know has— have been not about a substantive issue, but have been about other— I’m trying to talk about what other people have done. Like, for example they made a big deal of my saying they pinned a medal on two people— who I did— but, anyway, I pinned a medal on two people and the dates, et cetera.”

“They said the branch of the military was wrong, and the date was wrong, and the act he was awarded for was wrong, and the medal was wrong, and what position you held at the time was wrong,” Colbert pointed out, offering a long list of excruciating context.

“I think there’s a difference whether you’re talking about somebody else,” Biden emphasized.

“Just to follow up here, you told NPR that the details are irrelevant,” Colbert noted.

“Those details are irrelevant when the point I was making was absolutely accurate,” Biden claimed.

“Some of the details are relevant. That’s where the devil lives,” Colbert pointedly said.

“The devil lives in the details, if the details you’re talking about would affect the outcome of something that is about to happen or should happen,” Biden said.

And after taping the show, to reinforce his self-deprecating take, Biden intentionally flubbed Colbert’s name once more in a Tweet:

Watch the video above, via CBS.

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