Published May 25, 2010
It's not unheard of for Vice President Biden to get lost in the moment, but during a speech earlier this month to the European Parliament his flattery of the host may have gone a bit overboard, ceding Washington, D.C.'s role as the world's center of liberty.
The U.S. vice president, opening his address in Belgium, argued that Brussels -- considering its rich history and abundance of international institutions -- could well be the "capital of the free world."
He suggested that Washington, D.C., his home, is undeserving of that title -- notwithstanding its wealth of global organizations and the countless international summits that take place there.
"As you probably know, some American politicians and American journalists refer to Washington, D.C. as the 'capital of the free world,'" Biden said. "But it seems to me that in this great city, which boasts 1,000 years of history and which serves as the capital of Belgium, the home of the European Union, and the headquarters for NATO, this city has its own legitimate claim to that title."
Biden's trip to Europe in early May came in the immediate aftermath of the attempted Times Square bombing and his comings and goings were not widely reported. The above comment was made during his May 6 address to the European Parliament.
Biden used the speech to discuss tackling the threats of nuclear proliferation, climate change and international terrorism and stress the importance of the United States' alliance with Europe.
"We need each other more now than we have ever," Biden said.
Biden said he was "particularly honored" to address the body, "as a lawmaker for more than 36 years in our parliament."