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Biden Says President Obama Has a 'Big Stick' During NYU Speech

By Andrea Swalec | April 26, 2012 12:39pm
Vice President Joe Biden may have brought a little college humor with him to NYU April 26, 2012.
Vice President Joe Biden may have brought a little college humor with him to NYU April 26, 2012.
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DNAinfo/Andrea Swalec

GREENWICH VILLAGE — Nuclear missiles aren't the only thing in his arsenal.

Gaffe-prone vice president Joe Biden put his foot in his mouth once again Thursday — telling a room packed with students at NYU that President Barack Obama "has a big stick."

The belly laugh-inducing blunder came when Biden was speaking about the need to maintain international pressure on Iran during a 45-minute address at the law school's Vanderbilt Hall.

"Now is the time to heed the timeless advice from Teddy Roosevelt: 'Speak softly and carry a big stick,' end of quote," Biden said.

"I promise you, the president has that big stick," he continued, sparking snickering and applause.

NYU freshman Austin Twine, 19, called the comment a perfect example of college humor.

"It wasn't the safest thing to say," he said.

NYU sophomore Clayton Reisig, 20, said he thought Biden's crack was funny but that it could hurt him.

"It brings him down to a student level, but there are a lot of people [the campaign] is looking to get support from who might not like it."

Neither the White House nor Biden's office released an immediate statement on the comment.

Biden referenced Obama's physique a second time in his speech, referencing Obama's authorization of the killing of Osama bin Laden.

"This guy's got a backbone like a ramrod. For real," he said.

During the speech, Biden, who has been parodied on "Saturday Night Live," ticked off Obama's national security accomplishments and criticized presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's judgment and experience in foreign affairs and international security.

"If you're looking for a bumper sticker to sum up how President Obama has handled what we inherited, it's pretty simple: Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive," he said.

Before making the "big stick" comment, Biden said that Romney's tendency to refer to Russians as "Soviets" is evidence of his "Cold War mentality." 

"Everybody sometimes slips," Biden conceded.

"I never do, but everybody does," he continued to laughter and applause.