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. rich

    Good job, young man! Thanks for holding the arrogant "big dogs" accountable!
    Mike Barnacle of MSNBC should also apologize for his remarks about having his two sons "kick the student's ass" for calling out the Vice President.

    May 19, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  2. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    I wonder if Cheney apologized to Holcomb for using the "F" bomb in the senate.

    May 19, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  3. Seth in Jacksonville

    Grow up, kid. The world is a tough place for tough people.

    May 19, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  4. Steve (the real one)

    I will happily give the VP credit here. It has been since March BUT at least he apologized! Nice going VP Biden! I respect the gesture!

    May 19, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  5. Brad

    This kid has got quite the ego on him. He really needs to enter the real world.

    May 19, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  6. Yeesh

    It's just a word, folks. Say it out loud, and nothing magical happens. It's out there, and it's not going away – there's not a whole lot of value in fretting over it, especially in this instance. Context is important – and this usage was not aggressive, mean-spirited, demeaning, derogatory, or aimed at anyone – it was just a slightly over-the-top expression of exuberance. Big f-- deal – let it slide.

    May 19, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  7. JT from MO

    As a college student myself, I see where Mr. Holcomb is coming from, but I think he is making this too big of a deal with him, personally. He should be focusing on how he can do well in school, get involved in organizations, and be a productive member of society. Of course, it is very rude to curse in any public setting, but everyone in this world makes an occasional slip-up; Vice President Biden is no stranger to that; I'll admit that, but I know people who are far worse than that. As a young person myself, I have my slip-ups, but I try to improve on them, and I try to learn from the mistake to become a more productive member in my community, school, and any organization that I get involved with.

    May 19, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  8. Jaywing

    Like a typical teenager, this Kentucky youth is so self-absorbed he doesn't see the big picture (I have two, so I speak from experience). The Vice-President of the United States - yes the VP of the USA, took time to write the kid a personal letter of apology. But instead of accepting it with grace, the kid simply acts like a dumb kid. And what is this really about - really? No adult really knows, 'cause, I'm sorry too, kid, but you're going to hear this kind of language all your life, you will never escape it and I seriously, SERIOUSLY, doubt you will ever have anyone else give you an apology for saying the f-word and several thousand other things you may not like. Grow the "F-word" up.

    May 19, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  9. Jeeper

    Biden (and Obama) should also have to apologize to this country for what they have done to it. The "f" word applies to how they handled the health care issue recently.

    May 19, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  10. lois

    There is no class in the White House....

    May 19, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  11. shade431

    Ah come now. Your telling me that some 16 year old was so offended by the F word slip that he felt the need to write the vice President about it ? Lets be true to ourselves, his parents seeing an opportunity to get in the news and get their 15 minutes of fame surely put him up to this to say the least. And by saying " thats as close to an apology as I'll be recieving"..... please, what are the parents hoping for a free trip and photo op with the VP on the taxpayer dollar ? Grow up...

    May 19, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  12. brain2brain

    Welcome to the real world little boy! I suggest that you do not watch anymore TV or movies or play those nasty little video games!

    Hey, if you can't appreciate a SNAFU at this age in life, big problems are coming that you just won't be able to handle.

    Ask your local Marine Corps Recruiter what the minimum age is to join! You need some guidance.

    You should apologize for wasting the government's time!

    Former Sgt USMC 66-69

    BTW I joined the Marines (legally) when I was 16 in 1966

    May 19, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  13. Larry

    The man is a loose cannon, he should be ashamed. The Obama administration has so much class.

    May 19, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  14. Marina

    "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 - UMMMM REALLY? – Honey, let me give you some free ..friendly advice. If you are looking up to politicians as role models then your parents are not doing a very good job with you. They are politicians! enough said!

    May 19, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  15. Tom

    Useless apology after being caught and criticized.

    May 19, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  16. Learning from Cheney

    Joe probably thoyught it was OK to use the word after hearing that Dick Cheney repeatedly uses it publicly and refuses to apoligize to anyone.

    Guess it is OK for the GOP to say this work, but obvously the Dems should be held to a higher standard.

    May 19, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  17. Debra

    Why does he owe this kid a personal apology? These southerners are NUTS!!!!! He said it was inappropriate and that id THAT!!!!!

    May 19, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  18. elizabeth

    The kid is a Republican! They never accept anything on the face of it. The VP was gracious enough to appologize! Give it up!

    May 19, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  19. JP

    As a nation we spend way too much of our time dissecting how people say things and political correctness rather than the message itself. People say things, people curse, expecting politicians not to do so, but to remain 'common Joe's' is hypocritical. Is Biden's stupid blurb really at issue, or should we be concentrating on the health plan itself.

    Guess what Brandon, we didnt 'hire' him as your role model, look to your parents instead.

    May 19, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  20. Bob

    Really? With everything going on with the economy, unemployment, a massive oil spill, floods in Tennessee and 2 ongoing wars ... the thing that most disturbs this teenager is the VP's potty-mouth??

    Open letter to Brandon Holcomb: Adult life is going to kick your -ss.

    May 19, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  21. Al

    Please..What a punk. The VP goes out of his way to acknowledge that it might have been inappropriate to this kid and he isn't satisfied.

    May 19, 2010 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  22. Grog in Ohio

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

    Please add that the Kentucky teenager is just a tad pretentious and full of himself.

    May 19, 2010 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  23. donna white

    This 16 year old needs to worrry about bigger issues, he needs to put on his big girl panties, grow up!

    May 19, 2010 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  24. Fair is Fair

    The utter stupidity Biden shows on a day by day basis makes Sarah Palin look like a Rhodes Scholar by comparison.


    May 19, 2010 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  25. Tom

    Someone said a swear word! Quick, get the conservatives lined up! We need more laws, bigger government, all to stop this evil free speech thing. 🙂

    May 19, 2010 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
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