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Bowtie Biden beclowns himself, butchers lines after vowing to get words ‘exactly right’

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President Joe Biden struggled to coherently deliver lines from President Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural address while speaking before a group of state leaders.

The 81-year-old commander-in-chief tried to read off a prepared document and told the nation’s governors on Saturday that he wanted to get the words “exactly right” as he spoke of “bitter” politics before attempting Lincoln’s “better angels of our nature” quote.

But he fell far short of his goal.

Standing in front of a portrait of America’s 16th president, Biden began.

“And, you know, standing here in front of this portrait of the man behind me here, he — he said — and I want to make sure I get the quote exactly right. He said, ‘The better angels –‘ he said, ‘We must address counsel — and adjust the better angels of our nature.’ And we do the — and we do well to remember what else he said,” Biden stated at the Governors Ball Dinner.

“He said, ‘We’re not enemies, but we’re friends.” This is in the middle of — this is in the — in the part of the Civil War. He said, ‘We’re not enemies, but we’re friends. We must not be enemies’,” Biden concluded.

For context and comparison, Lincoln’s actual words, delivered after seven Southern states seceded from the Union over his 1860 election, were:

I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle-field, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

 

The rest of Biden’s remarks at the event continued his downward spiral.

Immediately after he botched Lincoln’s quote, Biden joked about his age, but it seemed he did not mean to connect the two.

“Folks — and I’ve been around. I know I don’t look it. I’ve been around a long while though,” he said to some polite laughter. “And — and I mean this sincerely, we’ve gotten — politics has gotten too bitter — Democrats and Republicans. Politics has gotten too personally — and it just is — it’s just not like it was.”

“And, by the way, I served in times when we had very, very starnch — staunch differences. I mean, there were incredible differences, but we always — not always, but the vast majority of the time, we looked out for a compromise when the end of the — when the end of the day came,” the president said.

But the awkward delivery was soon followed by more gaffes as Biden seemed to confuse Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin, catching himself before going on about how he once traveled 17,000 miles with the head of China.

“I’ve spent a lot of time with Xi Jinping — someone whom I have a great deal of difference with,” Biden told the crowd. “And I was — when I was vice president, President — my — my president was — told me that he wanted me to get to know Xi Jinping because it was clear he was going to be the head of Russia — of — of China and that he — we had a — we were having problems with Russia at the time and other countries as well. And so, what he said was, ‘Get to know him. He’s going to be there.” I — and he couldn’t because he was the president, and he couldn’t travel. So, I traveled 17,000 miles with him throughout the country — our country and — and in — in China, as well’.”