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Biden calls out for late Rep. Jackie Walorski at White House hunger event : NPR



Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) sits between Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) during a meeting between President Donald Trump and congressional members on Feb. 13, 2018.

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Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) sits between Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) during a meeting between President Donald Trump and congressional members on Feb. 13, 2018.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Joe Biden mistakenly called out for the late Rep. Jackie Walorski, the Indiana Republican who died in a car crash in August, while giving opening remarks at a White House conference on hunger, nutrition and health,

Walorski was one of four cosponsors on a bill to fund the conference and had been an advocate for reducing hunger in America.

“Jackie, are you here? Where’s Jackie,” he said looking out into the audience. “She was going to be here.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In August, Biden and first lady Jill Biden issued a statement extending their condolences following Walorski’s passing.

“I appreciated her partnership as we plan for a historic White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health this fall that will be marked by her deep care for the needs of rural America,” Biden said in an August statement. “We send our deepest condolences to her husband, Dean, to the families of her staff members, Zachery Potts and Emma Thomson, who lost their lives in public service, and to the people of Indiana’s Second District who lost a representative who was one of their own.”

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The White House also flew flags at half-staff in memoriam of Walorski and her aides who were also killed.

Condolences for Walorski, who had been a member of the House Hunger Caucus, were extended during the event by Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) in remarks following Biden’s speech. And White House policy adviser Susan Rice said she “of course” misses Walorski, “who passed away in August” at the start of a panel session with lawmakers following the president’s remarks.

Biden has a history of making gaffes

Biden has previously called himself “a gaffe machine” — a nod to his long history of verbal missteps.

As president, Biden has made a number of gaffes. For example, a year ago, he forgot the name of Scott Morrison, the then-prime minister of Australia, as he spoke to him during a video conference on a new defense partnership, calling him “that fellow Down Under.”

Critics have questioned whether his age is an impediment for Biden, the oldest person to hold the office. In an interview this month with 60 minutesBiden said that people should look not at his age but the job he’s doing.

“I think it relates to how much energy you have, and whether or not the job you’re doing is one consistent with what any person of any age would be able to do,” he said.

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“There’s not things I don’t do now that I did before, whether it’s physical, or mental, or anything else,” Biden said. When interviewer Scott Pelley noted his string of legislative successes, he joked: “How’d an old guy do that?”


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