Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., announced his presidential candidacy Wednesday, but he got more attention for a racially charged comment about competitor Barack Obama, calling him “the first mainstream African American [presidential candidate] who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.”

Washington Post:

Biden said he believes he has the unique set of attributes to get the United States out of the most divisive conflict since the Vietnam War without further damaging U.S. interests around the world. “The next president of the United States, because of the policies of this president, is going to have no margin for error,” he said on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” adding, “I think I have the most experience there.”

He is a co-sponsor of one of the Senate resolutions opposing President Bush’s plan to send 21,500 more troops to Iraq, but also has been critical of other Democrats who have called for what he believes would be a precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces from the conflict. Last fall, Biden proposed a plan that called for a political settlement in Iraq and for Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds to be given responsibility over specific regions of the country.

Biden sought to highlight his experience on the day he declared his candidacy, but an interview he gave to the New York Observer, a weekly newspaper, overshadowed his announcement.

In the interview, Biden described Obama as “the first mainstream African American [presidential candidate] who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”

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