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. ann

    Hey Brandon...........get a life man. Grown ups use those words from time to time.............what a way to get yourself noticed........pathetic.

    May 19, 2010 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  2. Anonymous

    really kid???

    May 19, 2010 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  3. Benjamin

    Curse words are harmless. I'm sick of hearing of these young kids who go on a crusade against them as if it is some noble goal. Shouldn't they busy themselves by reading a book instad? Do something that improves themselves instead of actively censoring others for no gain for anyone? There is an advantage to being eloquent, but there's also an advantage to being candid.

    May 19, 2010 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  4. Wisconsinite

    Oh for cryin' out loud, kid! Get a life!

    May 19, 2010 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  5. Carol

    Sixteen and needs an apology from the Vice President for a word, just a word? Sad.

    May 19, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  6. David

    He should be happy with it. Getting a response from the Vice President of the United States is a big f*n deal.

    May 19, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  7. Sniffit

    Bunch of crap. Someone please inform the little brat that grown people sometimes use colorful language and that it changes nothing. Oversensitive little p-ssant. Toughen up pal or people are gonna walk all over you for the rest of your life.

    May 19, 2010 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  8. Wisconsinite

    ""They need to watch what they say in front of people and realize they influence other people's lives."

    Brandon, if your "life" is so easily "influenced" you really need to grow up a little!

    May 19, 2010 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  9. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Since when did Brandon Halcomb get to be the arbiter of the use of language?

    I'm no Biden fan, but he shouldn't have to be subject to puritanical criticisms of his speech style, especially when the comment he made was intended to be private and, unlike Gordon Brown and his "bigoted woman" comment, cast no aspersions on anyone or anything, and was just about content-free aside from expressing his (misguided) approval of events.

    Mind your own business and get a life, kid.

    May 19, 2010 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  10. altapres

    Biden said said he is a religious Catholic with a rosary beads in his pocket. What an irony of a catholic who says the f word & supports abortion.

    May 19, 2010 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  11. RS

    To the young gentleman who got the apology: At least he tried to apologize, even if it didn't seem like an apology. He acknowledged he shouldn't have said it, and that's something. Most of these politicians wouldn't even give you that. So please just be happy you got something. It's a lot better than nothing.

    May 19, 2010 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  12. Hal Summers

    I think this twerp should be f- thrilled to get a letter from the Vice President rather than whine that it's not really an apology.

    It's unfortunate that a microphone caught what was intended to be a private remark but, in the real world, that's how adults sometimes talk.

    May 19, 2010 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  13. lmm

    Cry me a river!!! he took his time to write to you clearly it seems like a honest apology you should accept it and move on, its the past, move forward and see a brighter tomorrow. Why make an issue out it? Do you write letters to everyone who curses on TV, you life etc. Stop picking on him he apologized period. Take it humble yourself...move on. I applaude and respect your confidence in writting to him and respect Biden for writting back. This whole making a mountain over a mole hill on things that are not critical is tiring..lets focus on significant matters that will change the country.

    May 19, 2010 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  14. dave

    When are people going to stop wetting their pants over silly things... Biden is an adult in an adult word... no apology needed.

    May 19, 2010 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  15. sonny chapman

    That's more than Cheney ever did;"It felt good!" the Big C was quoted as saying.

    May 19, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  16. MKitty

    What kind of 16 year old is offended by by the "F-word?"

    May 19, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  17. Mo

    Brandon, good for you! We need more hall way monitors in life.

    May 19, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  18. HJA

    I wonder if he was offended by Cheney. He used the F word by directing at people. Much worse than Biden IMO.

    May 19, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  19. Bill Haverly

    Do you really think you will get anything better from these elitist, but stupid, democrats? And while you're at it, feel sorry for Biden having to stand so close to the yellow-toothed, tobacco-stenched president to be able to say his cursing into his ear. And then go read the president's wife's recommendations on how to stay healthy which leaves out use of tobacco and also high blood pressure which is caused by allowing oneself to get too excited about events that one would utter such filthy words in public. There is a bunch of loonies up there in the white house, people. How do you say "half-wits": democrats, that's how.

    May 19, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  20. SusieQ

    It was an inappropriate comment. Of course, that is what he does best. And for our Pres. to appear to be laughing so hard at his comment does not say much for his morals either...How many more years??? I am starting the countdown today!

    May 19, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  21. Eoin

    What a smug little creep this kid is. At a time when one of the most important socio-political steps in the nation's history has taken place (and it doesn't matter whether you support it or not, it's difficult to deny the magnitude of the initiative) this toad decides to complain about the VP's use of strong language in the heat of the moment. Mr. Holcomb needs to spend more time actually studying the politics and a lot less time looking for words to be outraged by. Sheesh.

    May 19, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  22. Lyvonne

    I do not like such language myself. On the other hand when a person does not speak well of an apology, it does not speak well of that person.
    I rather tend to think that this person wanted attention. It's really like if you plan for revenge, dig 2 graves as my mother taught me.

    May 19, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  23. Martin

    Criticizing a politician for being caught privately cussing to a co-worker?

    It's one thing to criticize someone for deliberately cussing in front of a group, it's entirely different to spy on them and whine about it when you catch them scratching their ass. If you don't like hearing cuss words and watching people pick their nose, then stop reading trashy papers which spy on celebrities.

    Biden doesn't owe any of you an apology. The only person he owes an apology if they were offended by his language are those who didn't hire someone to spy on them. By reading this type of low quality news, you are paying for journalists to shove microphones in backstage politicians vacinities. If you get lucky and get to hear someone say something private, then you should apologize to them.

    May 19, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  24. Rob

    Hey kid, grow the eff up already!

    May 19, 2010 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  25. Chris (DC)

    This kid needs a hobby. Did he write Dick Cheney, who recently defended his use of the word in a very negative setting? Did he write Pres. George W. Bush when he used it at an event? This young man seems interested, but I suggest he use his letter writing skills to change policy not what two people say to each other.

    May 19, 2010 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
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