By Luis Miguel - thenewamerican.com
Joe Biden's gaffes are getting him into trouble - again.
The former vice president is the subject of a controversy surrounding a military story he told at a campaign stop in New Hampshire earlier this month - a story the Washington Post reported as being untrue.
Biden's emotional account revolved around his visit to honor a Navy captain in Afghanistan who rappelled down a 60-foot ravine to retrieve the body of a comrade who had been left for dead during combat. Biden said he went abroad despite concerns about his visiting a war-torn area.
The former vice president claimed to have brushed off the concerns. "We can lose a vice president. We can't lose more of these kids," he told the crowd. "Not a joke. This guy climbed down a ravine. Carried his guy up on his back under fire, and the general wanted me to pin the Silver Star on him."
The story included a dramatic moment in which the captain told Biden that because his comrade died, he didn't want the medal.
After speaking with over a dozen military and campaign sources, the Post concluded that the story "never happened" and that "almost every detail in the story appears to be incorrect."
The article's authors, Matt Viser and Greg Jaffe, wrote: "It appears as though the former vice president has jumbled elements of at least three actual events into one story."
"In the space of three minutes, Biden got the time period, the location, the heroic act, the type of medal, the military branch and the rank of the recipient wrong, as well as his own role in the ceremony," Viser and Jaffe added.
The Democratic presidential frontrunner, who gave his "word as a Biden" that the story was true, reportedly left an impression on his Hanover audience, who fell silent upon hearing the account.
The Post reported that the serviceman who rappelled to retrieve his fallen comrade was not a Navy captain, but 20-year-old Army specialist Kyle White, who was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Obama in 2014. Biden was present at that ceremony.
He appeared to have confused the story with that of Army Staff Sgt. Chad Workman, who did try to refuse a media given to him by Biden for unsuccessfully attemptiong to save a fellow soldier from a burning vehicle in Afghanistan's Wardak province.
The latest mix-up has observers once again questioning the 76-year-old candidate's mental acuity.
Recently, Biden said Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy were killed "in the late '70s" (both men were assassinated in 1968), stated a preference for "truth over facts," and mistook New Hampshire for Vermont while campaigning in the battleground state.
In an interview with the Post and Courier newspaper, Biden pushed back at criticism of his military story.
"I don't understand what they're talking about, but the central point is it was absolutely accurate what I said. He refused the medal. I put it on him, he said, 'Don't do that to me, sir. He died. He died.'"
In the face of doubts about his age and mental aptitude, the presidential hopeful told a reporter: "I say if they're concerned, don't vote for me."
But the Democrat maintains he is still mentally fit for the presidency. Biden told an audience at Dartmouth College last week: "I want to be clear, I'm not going nuts."
Dr. Neal Kassell, Biden's brain surgeon (Biden suffered two brain aneurysms in 1988), told Politico his patient is as "sharp" as ever.
Biden's fact-faulty war story drew comparisons to Hillary Clinton's famous claim in the 2008 race that she landed "under sniper fire" during a 1996 trip to Bosnia.
Clinton herself was plagued by speculation about her health during the 2016 presidential race, fueled by incidents such as an apparent fainting episode while at a 9/11 memorial service.
Will Biden's White House bid meet the same fate as Clinton's?