US presidential hopeful Joe Biden has launched his new campaign slogan: “No Malarkey”.
- Joe Biden’s choice of words has drawn accusations that he is out of touch
- The ‘No Malarkey’ battle bus will crisscross the key battleground state of Iowa
- Mr Biden trails a number of his key rivals in the state
But the 77-year-old Democrat’s choice of words is fuelling more commentary about whether he is too old to be picked to try to beat Donald Trump at next year’s election.
Mr Biden’s ‘No Malarkey’ bus tour is currently crisscrossing Iowa, which hosts the first presidential nominating contest on February 3.
Public opinion polls show Mr Biden’s one-time double-digit lead in the state has disappeared, and he is now fighting fast-rising Pete Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and progressive candidates US Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders for top spot.
Mr Biden let the world know he was on the road with a tweet in which he wrote: “Fired up and ready to go for the #NoMalarkey barnstorm!”
The “No Malarkey” slogan harkens back to a comment the former vice-president made more than seven years ago in a campaign debate against Paul Ryan.
The phrase itself was coined in the 1920s, according to the Washington Post.
Australia’s Macquarie Dictionary defines malarkey as: “nonsense, meaningless talk”.
“Barnstorm” entered popular usage in the early 19th century, when it related to troupes of performers going from place to place in rural areas.
Later, in the years after World War I, it came to refer to daredevil pilots flying their planes in one end of a barn and out the other.
The use of the old-style terms gave those on social media all they needed to take aim at Mr Biden, and a Houston TV presenter simply responded with “OK Boomer”.
Things also took an unusual turn at Mr Biden’s campaign rally where he bit his wife Jill’s finger as she was introducing him.
As Jill Biden flung an arm wide to make a point, her husband theatrically dodged her hand — then, on a second pass, gave her a playful chomp on her fingertip.
She took the nibble in stride, laughing along with the crowd.
Malarkey or not, Mr Biden is promising to “change America”.
“I promise you, I promise you,” he told a few hundred supporters outside his Council Bluff campaign office, “we’re going to win this race, and we’re going to beat Donald Trump, and we’re going to change America.”
Mr Biden, 77, still enjoys a lead in national public opinion polls but his age was called into question by Linda Murken, chair of the board of supervisors in Story County, Iowa.
“It really is time to start turning over our government to a younger generation,” Ms Murken, who has endorsed Mr Buttigieg, said.
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