The foot-in-mouth syndrome will be spreading among politicians as they jockey for position in the already-begun 2008 presidential race, and the public will have to decide what those statements mean, President Bush’s spokesman told WND.

The comment came from Tony Snow on a question from Les Kinsolving, WND’s correspondent at the White House.

“Since the president told Fox News yesterday that he is ‘impressed’ by Sen. [Barack] Obama, who he finds ‘attractive and articulate,’ surely you can tell us, Tony, what the president thinks of a widely reported Page 1 quote of Sen. [Joseph] Biden that Sen. Obama is ‘clean?'” Kinsolving asked.

“No, I can’t. But thank you. I haven’t talked to him about it. It’s just – I don’t know,” Snow said.

“Well, Sen. Obama said yesterday that, ‘Sen. Biden certainly didn’t intend to offend. And I’ll leave it at that.’ At which Sen. Biden called Obama ‘a superstar, the most exciting candidate from either party in decades, he’s fresh, he’s new, he’s smart, he’s insightful, a very special guy, who is like catching lightning in a jar. I think he’s great. I think I’m better,'” Kinsolving said. “Does the president recognize this hilarious contradiction as the indication of a preface to another Biden withdrawal, as he did in 1988?”

“Let the candidates make their cases to the public. The public will decide,” Snow said.

According to network reports, Biden’s opinion of Obama came amidst a series of remarks about presidential campaign rivals Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York; former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C.; and Obama.

“I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” Biden said. “I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”

He later issued a statement regretting any “offense” the remark may have caused.

He elaborated: “Barack Obama is probably the most exciting candidate that the Democratic or Republican Party has produced at least since I’ve been around. And he’s fresh. He’s new. He’s smart. He’s insightful. And I really regret that some have taken totally out of context my use of the world ‘clean.'”

“He called me,” Obama said. “He was very gracious and I have no problem with Joe Biden.”

But Obama also said there are issues of Iraq, as well as health care and energy, and mistakes in statements are low on the list.

He later suggested Biden’s comments were inaccurate, saying, “African-American presidential candidates like Jesse Jackson, Shirley Chisholm, Carol Moseley Braun and Al Sharpton gave a voice to many important issues through their campaigns, and no one would call them inarticulate.”

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