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18 Sep, 2014 16:28

Biden apologizes for 'Shylock' gaffe, immediately drops another two

Biden apologizes for 'Shylock' gaffe, immediately drops another two

Vice President Joe Biden apologized Wednesday for use of the offensive slur ‘Shylock’ to describe home-loan lenders. Yet hours later, Biden dropped two more gaffes during a visit to Iowa, an important state for anyone considering a 2016 presidential run.

On Tuesday, Biden, in a speech before the Legal Services Corporation, called ‘Shylocks’ those who had offered bad home loans to US service members deployed overseas.

The Anti-Defamation League national director Abraham Foxman criticized Biden for the “medieval stereotype about Jews and remains an offensive characterization to this day.”

Biden apologized in a statement, saying, "He’s correct, it was a poor choice of words, particularly as he said coming from ‘someone as friendly to the Jewish community and open and tolerant an individual as is Vice President Joe Biden.’ He’s right.”

U.S. President Barack Obama (Joe Raedle / Getty Images / AFP)

The Vice President was in Iowa on Wednesday as part of an official visit to the state, the first to select party nominees during presidential campaigns. Biden is reportedly considering a run in 2016 to replace President Barack Obama.

At a rally for the group Nuns on the Bus, which is set to begin its ‘We the People, We the Voters’ bus tour, Biden spoke in populist tones, according to The Washington Post, excoriating economic inequality and praising the bravery of immigrants who choose to come to the United States.

But these sentiments were overshadowed by a complimentative story he told of former Singapore prime minister Lee Kuan Yew.

"On the way back from Mumbai to go meet with President Xi in China, I stopped in Singapore to meet with a guy named Lee Kuan Yew, who most foreign policy experts around the world say is the wisest man in the Orient," Biden said.

His use of the word “Orient” drew immediate criticism on social media. Some called for him to apologize.

"Vice President Joe Biden’s insensitive remarks are offensive to both Asian-Americans and our Asian allies abroad," said Ninio Fetalvo, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee Asian American and Pacific Islander caucus, in a statement. "His comment is not only disrespectful but also uses unacceptable imperialist undertones."

Elder statesman Lee Kuan Yew (AFP Photo / Mohd Fyrol)

Biden later visited a diner where he told reporters that it is possible for ground troops to be deployed to combat militant group Islamic State, an option his boss, Obama, again tried to stress was not going to happen during a statement made earlier Wednesday. "The American forces that have been deployed to Iraq do not and will not have a combat mission,” Obama said from MacDill Air Force Base.

A reporter asked Biden whether Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey was correct when he indicated before a congressional panel on Tuesday that US ground forces could be used in addition to planned airstrikes against Islamic State strongholds in Syria and Iraq.

"He [Dempsey] said that if in fact he concluded that was needed he would request it from the president. His conclusion is that it is not needed now," Biden said.

"We’ll determine that based on how the effort goes," he added, contradicting Obama.