May 19th, 2010
09:35 AM ET
12 years ago

Biden apologizes to teen for F-word

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Biden famously cursed during the bill signing of health care reform."](CNN) – It was the F-word heard around the world and now Vice President Biden has expressed regret to a Kentucky teenager for using the crude language during the signing ceremony of the health care reform legislation in March.

"I should have expressed my excitement in a more appropriate manner," Biden wrote in a two-paragraph letter to high school student Brandon Halcomb. The letter comes after the 16-year old penned an open letter to the vice president criticizing his choice of language, according to Kentucky's WYMT News.

But Holcomb, who says he's not sure if he is a Republican or a Democrat, isn't completely satisfied with the response.

"It was not really an apology, but that's as close to an apology as I will be receiving," he said.

The Kentucky teenager also said he will continue to make sure politicians are responsible for their actions.

"They are role models," he said. "They need to watch what they say in front of people and realize they influence other people's lives."

A microphone picked up Biden uttering the F-word two months ago in the East Room of the White House as Obama signed the health care reform bill into law.

After delivering a rousing introduction of the president in which he praised Obama's "perseverance" and "clarity of purpose," Biden turned to embrace his boss and said with a big smile, "This is a big f– deal!"

Shortly after the ceremony, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs sent a message on his Twitter feed to try and diffuse the controversy.

"And yes Mr. Vice President, you're right..." Gibbs tweeted from his @PressSec Twitter account.

Filed under: Joe Biden • Popular Posts
soundoff (110 Responses)
  1. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Oh for crikes sakes! This is ridiculous! You have Presidents who have boinked in the Oval Office with someone other than their wife; you have Senators and congressmen left and right cheating on their spouses and cheating the American public; you have a WAR that has killed thousands upon thusands of innocent men and women in a country that DID NOTHING TO US, and we're STILL apologizing for enthusiastically in a moment of JOY dropping the "F" word?

    I can appreciate Joe trying to be a good role model, but truly I believe a high schooler is quite capable of looking the other way in this instance. The man was HAPPY!!! He was NOT cussing somebody out.

    Please, ok?

    May 19, 2010 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  2. Andre

    Big Fin deal kid. Like to know how many times this kid swears a day

    May 19, 2010 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  3. Heather

    Okay, yes, they should watch language but, uttering a curse word is hardly the worst offense somebody can commit. He got a letter from the vice-president, that is enough, Biden does not have to do anything more.

    May 19, 2010 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  4. katiec

    Wow, CNN. With elections, republicans obstructing finance reform, all the important issues facing our country, you really had to dig to headline yet another negative for the Democratic party.
    It is obvious to many of us that you have chosen the path of Fox and have thrown all integrity, honor out the window to push your right wing bias.

    May 19, 2010 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  5. Randy, San Francisco

    No big deal. It was OK for former vice-president Dick Cheney to use the big f-word because it was the manly thing to do, according to GOP pundits, The f word is so overused that it has almost become a meaningless expression. Just eavesdrop on teenagers talking at any shopping mall in the country. High school student, Brandon Halcomb, is motivated by political ideology against the vice-president or lives a rather sheltered monastic existence.

    May 19, 2010 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  6. Dar

    IM glad a teen called Joe out on that, to bad Joe couldnt give him a "IM Sorry" Instead he just skirts around the issue like his boss does. Shame

    May 19, 2010 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  7. Scott

    Mr. Holcomb, perhaps it would also be a good idea for you to ask your Senator McConnell of Kentucky to apologize for all of the lies he told about the health care reform bill. These were far damaging to the country than the single profanity uttered by Vice President Biden.

    May 19, 2010 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  8. brad

    So he said the F-word that was meant only in private. If you want to blame anyone, blame the people sticking the mics in their face 24/7. Only way I would find it in bad taste is if it was toward someone. In this case, it was just his excitement. Grow a spine kid.

    May 19, 2010 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  9. svscnn

    I love Joe Biden. He's as f-ing real as it gets.

    May 19, 2010 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  10. spinzgirl

    Did he ask for an apology from Cheney when he told a Senator to "F- yourself" on the Senate floor? I'm guessing no. This kid wants politicians to be a good role model? Dropping the "F bomb" is hardly worth his time...or this story. Look around at all the ethics violations and hypocritical behavior. Is he going to write all of them, too? Whether or not this kid is a Dem or Repub, he will make a good politician himself- he already knows how to blow things way out of proportion.

    May 19, 2010 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  11. Dis-gusted

    I agree with Brandon. Even though I like Joe Biden, I deplore his (and everyone else who does so) use of this crude word. It seems to be a common word with our every day language.anymore. It is used by the writers for TV shows, and "bleeped" as though one would not know which foul word they used. In my opinion, we Americans should revert back to those days when we would not think of using foul language, especially in public. When I was a kid, my mother would wash my mouth out with soap if she heard me using foul words. Now you hear small children use crude no problem!

    May 19, 2010 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  12. Greg Smith

    Get over it kid. Adults express themselves in many different ways. It would have been different, and inappropriate, for the VP to utter the phrase in a public speech. The fact that he uttered it in what he thought was a private moment shouldn't even be a point of discussion. I suspect that this kid has been exposed to much more racy language in movies, video games, and locker room chat so I'm not at all concerned about his "delicate sensitivities" much less that he feels he is due a personal apology.

    May 19, 2010 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  13. once upon a horse

    I recall former VP Cheney dropping the "F" bomb on the floor of the senate and he has YET to say he was sorry for doing fact now he's bragging about it. I don't comend either one for doing so, but there are FAR worst things that can be said that are hurtful....:pull the plug on grandma" being untrue I think is more hurtful.

    May 19, 2010 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  14. It's just for the votes... He's not really sorry.

    Of course biden the clown won't really apologize. He always speaks that way, he's just sorry it was heard by the kids. After it happened, his initial reaction was it was hilarious. That's who biden really is. This apology is just to win votes.

    When he and the administration started making up T-shirts to commemorte this, that told us what they were about.

    May 19, 2010 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  15. Geoz

    Let's see if we can keep this story in the news because.... because....

    Well, it matters because.....

    I think it really had an effect on.....


    May 19, 2010 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  16. Blame

    I don't understand what he's going on about. Wow, an adult said the F word. He doesn't owe the kid an apology. True, it was a mistake, but the fact that he even got back to the guy shows something. Also, this kid's looking at the wrong group of people if he's searching for a role model.

    Listen're probably the sort of tool that tells on other kids and complains about things all the time while the other kids bang their head on the desk at your constant complaining. Untuck your shirt every once in a while. Life will be a lot more enjoyable that way.

    May 19, 2010 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  17. Dede

    Just look at the picture of Biden and Obama above, that picture says it all.

    May 19, 2010 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  18. John

    give me a break...the kid is in High School....he probably hears and or uses the F bomb every 10 minutes. The kid is just crying to get his name in the paper. It isnt that big of a deal... I doubt he had any objections to the profanity Dick Cheney said a few years back..

    May 19, 2010 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  19. shadysider

    Grow the f up, kid. You should be more worried that there are politicians who think the world is only 6,000 years old, that the Bible is true (even though it was plagiarized and the people don't follow the original /all religion is a lie), and that creationism should be taught in our schools. Not to meniton that they call for the end to entitlements and subsidies when they have the same for their own constituencies.

    May 19, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  20. David in Houston

    Yes, we must be careful how we speak as not to disturb the fragile & delicate virgin ears of the American 16 year old...give me a break.

    May 19, 2010 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  21. David

    Biden should have said that "This is a big communist deal" instead of a "big F deal." Yes, that would be more accurate. Why don't Democrats retake their onw party with leaders that actually love this country unlike Obama who hates it from sea to shining sea? Bote this Scalleywag out!

    May 19, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  22. Scout

    Oh, tell that little twit to bite me. Biden should never have apologized period. That kid has to be the biggest nerd I've ever heard of. I'll bet he belongs to both the chess club and swing choir.

    May 19, 2010 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  23. ross

    geezus – who care what a 16 year old thinks about foul language. I am sure he, his parents, and friends have used it more times than you can count!

    Useless article!

    May 19, 2010 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  24. Sam says it right

    Like this kid has not heard worse language in highschool. This kid needs to get a grip and realize it's just a word

    May 19, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  25. Larry L

    Imagine that – a person from the East Coast using a swear word. I hear a person in the Bronx once said something naughty! I wonder how many people got apologies from Dick Cheney? We should spend less time being offended and more time fixing problems.

    May 19, 2010 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
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