"Will Barack Obama condemn Joe Biden and Jimmy Hoffa for calling Republicans 'barbarians' and 'son of a bitches'
I enjoy political hardball as much as the next reporter. It's barely concealed truth that campaign journalists, like the operatives we cover, love negative campaigning and revel in OTT insults and martial rhetoric. Even candidates often lapse into the language of "rip his throat out", "tear his eyes out" or "drive a stake through her heart".
But the statements today by Jimmy Hoffa Jr and Vice President Joe Biden demean the presidency and, tactically speaking, are stupid own goals.
Hoffa, the Teamsters president, was warming up a Detroit crowd when he said: "President Obama, this is your army, and we are ready to march. Everybody here’s got a vote. If we go back, and we keep the eye on the prize, let’s take these son of a bitches out and give America back to America where we belong.”
Biden, whose mouth has long been a liability for Obama, was at an AFL-CIO rally when he told union members: "You are the only folks keeping the barbarians from the gates…the other side has declared war on labour's house."
The difference, of course, is that they were uttered publicly by someone chosen by the White House to introduce Obama and by the sitting vice-president at a time when Obama is calling for a bipartisan coming together to tackle the economy. To add to their foolishness, they follow on from Obama's sensible call in January for "civility" in public discourse and for people to talk "in a way that heals, not a way that wounds".
But will Obama have the political and moral courage to repudiate a powerful union boss and his own vice-president?