"No one ever doubts that I mean what I say," Vice President Joe Biden told a group of lawyers in a speech before the Legal Services Corporation. "The problem is I sometimes say all that I mean."
The crowd laughed. Then, less than 20 minutes later, he made a remark that was promptly condemned as a "medieval stereotype about Jews" by the Anti-Defamation League.
Biden said soldiers would approach his son, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden (D), while he was serving a tour of duty in Iraq, and tell him about their experiences navigating the toxic housing market back home.
“People would come to him and talk about what was happening to them at home in terms of foreclosures, in terms of bad loans that were being — I mean, these Shylocks who took advantage of these women and men while overseas,” Biden said.
Shylock is the main character of the Shakespearean play "Merchant of Venice" -- an unrelenting Jewish banker of sorts best known for demanding a "pound of flesh" as repayment for a loan.
“Shylock represents the medieval stereotype about Jews and remains an offensive characterization to this day," ADL national director Abraham Foxman said in a statement, first reported by Yahoo News. "The Vice President should have been more careful."
Update 11:19 a.m.: Biden has now apologized, calling his comments "a poor choice of words."
Update 3:07 p.m.: Apparently Biden has now done it again, making a reference to "The Orient."