There he is! (Alan Diaz/Associated Press)

In a speech today on foreign policy, Vice President Biden uttered a few immortal words: “Now is the time to heed the timeless advice from Teddy Roosevelt: ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick.’ End of quote. I promise you, the president has a big stick.”

There was a flurry of laughter.

“I promise you.”

I’m just glad Biden didn’t mention the Rough Riders. One Teddy Roosevelt flub in a day is enough.

These are words to which nothing need be added. Except, possibly, snickering.

When Ann Romney said that thing about how Mitt Romney wasn’t stiff when he was unzipped, everyone winced. But this one gets a pass. It’s historical, after all.

The words came in a speech in which Biden was accusing the Romney campaign of trying to take us back to the past in terms of foreign policy.

To be fair, the Romney campaign has done little to dispel this impression. During a conference call today, adviser Pierre Prosper referred to U.S. missile sites in Czechoslovakia.

It is a relief to know that if the Soviet Union tries any funny business, Prosper is on it. If the Ottoman Empire makes any sudden moves, they have a contingency plan. Napoleon had better not invade anything, because Mitt Romney is set to handle it!

This is the part where, as a responsible writer, I have to note that this is the kind of error that could happen to anyone, we all know what he meant, and it’s not a reflection of any larger trends.

But entertain for a moment the possibility that this is just the tip of a massive iceberg of Historical Romney Foreign Policies that encompasses responses to all kinds of threats from the past. Open up the Romney policy book, and there’s a guide to handling the Hapsburgs and what to do if a mad monk starts gaining excess influence in the halls of state. Spanish Armada? Never fear. Hannibal starts crossing the Alps? Romney knows how to handle it. There's even a contingency plan for the Red Menace.

Just unzip the big stick! Or something.