During last night’s vice presidential debate, Joe Biden did something very interesting: at one point he turned and mouthed something to Paul Ryan so that the microphone’s couldn’t pick it up. We’ve been wondering what, exactly, was said. And now a lip reader is telling us what he thinks.
First, here’s the curious moment — which happened during the back-and-forth about Medicare (go to about the one-minute mark):
On Friday’s edition of Glenn Beck’s radio show, he brought on one of his employees — Adam — who is a lip reader (Adam used to be deaf before getting a Cochlear implant). According to Adam, Biden leaned over and mouthed, “You’re so funny.”
“I think it’s clear he said, ‘You’re so funny,’” Adam said in an email Beck read on air.
He added there’s “no way” Biden said “you’re so full of it” or “you’re so full of sh**” as some have suggested.
“I admit it is possible he said ‘you’re so freaking–’ and then caught himself,” but added that the body language doesn’t seem to suggest that.
Below are copies of the email exchanges:
My initial reaction to this when I first saw it was that Biden is saying, “You’re so funny.” The more I watched it the more I became convinced that’s what he said. This seems backed up to me by the fact that he laughs immediately afterward. Some might try to argue that Biden was reacting in response to Martha Raddatz’s comment that “something tells me I won’t get a very simple answer,” but Biden’s laugh starts well before she said this. I think it’s clear he said, “You’re so funny.”
Clearly, Biden doesn’t take Paul Ryan’s concerns over the need for entitlement reform seriously. But we already knew these guys don’t take this seriously, so I guess there’s not much new there.
By the way, I looked through a bunch of the comments on [a different] article and a lot of people are saying he said, “You’re so full of it” or “You’re so full of shit.” There’s no way he said either of this. Look at his jaw as he talks — he only makes four syllables, which fits with “You’re so funny,” but not with “You’re so full of it.” Plus, in order to say “You’re so full of shit,” his cheeks and lips would have to move quite a bit differently in order to make the “sh” sound in “shit.” I admit that it IS possible he started to say, “You’re so freaking –” and then caught himself before finishing, but there’s no indication from his body language that he had to stop himself mid-sentence, which suggests to me he finished what he meant to say, which is: “You’re so funny.”
Do you have any theories? Agree or disagree?
We emailed Adam and asked him if it’s possible Biden said “You’re so full–” and caught himself. Here is his response [emphasis added]:
Is it possible? Yes, of course. Is it likely? No. I say it’s not likely for a couple reasons:
First, think about what you do when you catch yourself before you say something you’d rather not say. Don’t you usually have a physical movement — even if it’s slight — that also stops right in its tracks along with your words? I think most people do. We don’t see that here. What we see is one fluid motion from looking at Ryan to turning his head back down while smiling and saying something.
Second, try saying “full,” and freeze your tongue right where it ends up at the end of “full.” It’s probably just barely between your teeth, right? Now try saying “fun,” and freeze your tongue right where it ends up. It’s probably right behind your top row of teeth now. With that in mind, go watch Biden again. It’s hard to tell exactly because of the way he moves his head, but there does not appear to be any evidence of his tongue having moved into the position your tongue has to go into to make an “L” sound, but it does look like he could have made an “N.” In addition, notice what happens to your cheeks when you say “full” versus when you say “fun” or “funny.” For “full,” your cheeks will move forward and your lips outward. For “fun” or “funny,” your cheeks move back and slightly down with your jaw while your lips spread open. I don’t see any evidence of Biden having moved his cheeks or lips in the way he would have had he said “full.” But he did move his lips in about the way you would if you said “funny.” Granted, he was laughing and grinning through it, which may exaggerate the facial movements that are similar to saying “funny,” but I still see very little evidence that he said “full.”
This story has been updated.