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Biden scores with debate zinger

October 30, 2007 |  7:55 pm

Even if Joe Biden fails to overcome the long, long odds he faces in his bid for the presidency, his legacy may live on with the crack he delivered about Rudy Giuliani at tonight's debate among the Democratic White House contenders.

Asked about his experience compared to Hillary Clinton's, Biden short-circuited the effort by MSNBC's two questioners, Brian Williams and Tim Russert, to make the debate's first hour-plus all about her.

"I'm not running against Hillary Clinton," he began. "I'm running to lead the free world.  I'm running to lead this country."

That, in itself, was a refreshing change of pace from what had been the relentless focus on Clinton. Then Biden turned his sights on Giuliani -- a shift probably welcomed by Democrats who had been watching the bickering among their candidates.

First, he termed Giuliani "probably the most under-qualified man since George Bush to seek the presidency." That garnered some laughter and applause, but Biden was merely setting up the sound bite of the night.

"Rudy Giuliani," he went on. "I mean, think about it.  Rudy Giuliani. There's -- there's only three things he mentions in a sentence:  a noun and a verb and 9/11."

That sparked a huge response from an otherwise restrained audience. And if Giuliani emerges as the GOP nominee, it's likely to be a line Democrats reprise among themselves again and again.

-- Don Frederick