Donna Brazile, former Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairwoman and Fox News Channel contributor, offered a head-scratching defense on Friday of former Vice President Joe Biden badly mistelling an emotional story regarding the war in Afghanistan.
Appearing on The Five, Brazile argued Biden’s latest blunder was caused by an overload of information.
“Let’s not attribute this gaffe to age. There are a lot of people who are older than Joe Biden who still got it going on,” the longtime Democrat operative said.
“Sometimes when you have a lot of information in your brain and you try to put it out your mouth, it comes across like, you are juggling the story,” she added.
Biden on Thursday defended his faulty description of a tale of military heroism and his interactions with the service members who carried it out.
The “essence” of his recollection is correct, the former vice president told a South Carolina newspaper Thursday after a Washington Post story detailed how an emotional anecdote Biden told recently while campaigning in New Hampshire contained inaccuracies.
Biden’s telling appeared to conflate multiple events, yielding a single story of the then-vice president pinning a Silver Star on a U.S. Navy captain in the Konar province of Afghanistan for his efforts trying to save another service member.
In his latest telling of a story he’s varied over several years, according to the Post, Biden got most of the details wrong: There’s no military record of that specific ceremony, and Biden’s records as a senator show he traveled to Konar when he was Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman and before he was vice president.
Biden and his aides countered that the anecdote’s fundamental point — that as vice president he once formally recognized the valor of a heartbroken soldier who didn’t want the recognition because his fellow soldier ultimately lost his life — is true.
“There was one that relates to the forward-operating base in Afghanistan that I went to and a separate one where I went on the streets of Afghanistan where a young man pulled someone from a burning humvee,” Biden told The Post and Courier.
“The story was that he refused the medal because the fella he tried to save —and risked his life saving — died,” he added. “That’s the beginning, middle and end. The rest of you guys can take it and do what you want with it.”
Later in The Five’s segment, Brazile once again downplayed Biden’s latest gaffe, claiming the former vice president appeared genuine — an important trait voters seek in a candidate.
“Most people know Joe Biden’s character. They know his value system. They know that he visited Iraq and Afghanistan over 21 times as a United States senator and vice president,” Brazile said. “But this story — the way it came across and it came out — [was] heartfelt because people know that Joe Biden is heartfelt.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.