Facing criticism, potential 2008 presidential candidate Joe Biden on Friday defended his recent remark that “you cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent.”
The Delaware senator said his words were taken out of context.
On a recent edition of the C-SPAN series “Road to the White House,” Biden is shown in New Hampshire boasting about his support among Indian-Americans.
“I’ve had a great relationship. In Delaware, the largest growth in population is Indian-Americans moving from India. You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I’m not joking,” the senator said.
The clip made its way through cyberspace this week and caught fire in Washington, where Biden is known as one of the more long-winded senators.
Visiting troops and officials in Iraq this week, Biden was asked about the comment during an interview with CNN’s “The Situation Room.”
The senator said he has had an “incredibly strong” relationship with the Indian-American community in Delaware and that his comment was misinterpreted.
“I was making the point that up until now in my state, we’ve had a strong Indian community made up of leading scientists and researchers and engineers,” Biden said. Lately, he said: “We’re having middle- class people move to Delaware, take over Dunkin’ Donuts, take over businesses, just like other immigrant groups have, and I was saying that … they’re growing, it’s moving.”
“I could have said that 40 years ago about walking into a delicatessen and saying an Italian accent in my state,” Biden added.
But, Flap bets that if this had been George Allen, the Left and MSM would have been all over his non-PC hide.
The Indian-American community sees Biden’s remark differently.
“No he is not joking,” says Congressional candidate Raj Bhakta, who is seeking a seat from Pennsylvania on the Republican ticket.
The candidate, famous for his well-received appearance on the Donald Trump show The Apprentice, said in a statement emailed to rediff.com: ‘TheseÂ are ridiculous, callous and insensitive comments, which would simply be laughableÂ if they were not coming from a Democratic presidential candidate. You would never know from listening to Biden that Indian Americans have contributedÂ to this country other than making a mean cup of coffee.’
Speaking on the nationally-syndicated Hugh Hewitt radio show, Bhakta pointed out that Indian Americans are among the leading practitioners in medicine, law, corporates and small businesses.
‘And pretty soon, Senator Biden will be really shocked that there will be another Indian-American in Congress,’ Bhakta said, adding, ‘I will be sure to stop by his office whenÂ I get there. I would not be bringing coffee.’
Also quick off the blocks to condemn the incident was Dr Raghavendra Vijayanagar, a leading Republican fund-raiser and president of the Indian American Republican Council, who in a statement, said Biden has a history of making such insensitive statements.
Vijayanagar took it up a notch, suggesting that Democrats as a party are prone to belittle the Indian American community. In this context, he said, ‘In 2004, Senator John Kerry referred to Sikhs as terrorists, and Senator Hillary Clinton jokingly referred to Mahatma Gandhi as a gas station owner.’
The more serious concern over Biden’s presidential ambitions is his history of a lack of honesy with plagiarism. This alone is a disqualifier from being the leader of the free world.
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