On Tuesday, Joe Biden was in Wisconsin to sell his infrastructure deal, which he boasted would include “the largest investment in American passenger rail and in freight rail since the creation of Amtrak.” But straight talk is boring when you’ve lived a life as exciting as Joe’s, so he segued several times into personal anecdotes such as his veritable knee slapper of an exchange with an Amtrak conductor on one of his numerous daily tripe back and forth between Washington and Wilmington.
Each time he finished one of his comedic gems, he would signal the return to boring facts and figures by prefacing his next remark with “but all kidding aside,” which he said regardless of whether or not anyone had laughed.
He repeated it for example as a lead-in to the observation that begins at 2:16 in the video below:
But all kidding aside, studies show that if you can get to your destination in the same amount of time or less on rail than you can by car, people will take rail. And, Gov, you know this better than anybody. Imagine if you could get from Chicago — from La Crosse to Chicago in two hours, instead of four and a half. That’s what this will allow us to build the capacity to do.
But it’s the joke he made next could come back to bite him. He concluded his pitch on the virtues of rail travel by stating:
And besides, it will not only make your travel easier, not — I don’t know why you’d go to Chicago, but — you know, all kidding aside — it would reduce the largest source of pollution in America: vehicle travel. [Emphasis added]
It is the highlighted hypothetical that may generate some flak. A columnist with the Chicago Tribune noticed the remark, writing “President Joe Biden was just across the border in Wisconsin yesterday … when he cracked wise about Chicago, a true blue city.” A few paragraphs later, she added, “We’ll take the joke. He’s not the first president to take aim at Chicago.”
Will all Chicagoans be as inured to the crack? Will Mayor Lori Lightfoot? Stay tuned.
Pres. Biden says the infrastructure deal will make the "largest investment in American passenger rail" and tells a story about his frequent Amtrak usage: "I know I'm Mr. Amtrak" pic.twitter.com/W7vOAW1r0C
— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 29, 2021