WASHINGTON (AFP) — Democratic vice presidential hopeful Joseph Biden said in an interview aired Monday that a campaign ad which mocked Republican John McCain's inability to use a computer was "terrible."
The veteran Delaware senator, who adds foreign policy heft to the ticket of Democratic nominee Barack Obama, was asked about the controversial political commercial in a CBS news interview.
"I thought that was terrible by the way," said Biden, when asked about a campaign ad which made fun of McCain's admitted lack of ease with computers.
"I didn't know we did it, and if I'd had anything to do with it, we would have never done it," Biden said.
The ad in question featured pictures of McCain and a 1980s era chunky mobile telephone as well as a Rubik's cube puzzle, in a bid to make the point that the Republican nominee was out of touch with the modern economy.
"Things have changed in the last 26 years, but McCain hasn't. He admits he doesn't know how to use a computer, can't send an email," the ad said.
"After one president who was out of touch, we just can't afford more of the same," said the narrator of the ad, comparing McCain to unpopular Republican President George W. Bush.
The Obama campaign later issued a statement trying to tamp down the controversy over Biden's comments.
"I was asked about an ad I'd never seen, reacting merely to press reports," Biden said in the statement.
"As I said right then, I knew there was nothing intentionally personal in the criticism of Senator McCain's views which look backwards not forwards and are out of touch with the new economic challenges we face today.
"Having now reviewed the ad, it is even more clear to me that given the disgraceful tenor of Senator McCain's ads and their persistent falsehoods, his campaign is in no position to criticize."
Biden also hit out at a McCain campaign ad which maintained that Obama wanted to teach sex education to minors.
In reality, Obama voted for Illinois state legislation which was designed to warn kindergarten children of the dangers of sexual predators.
Biden is widely respected in the US Senate, where he serves as the chairman of the chamber's Foreign Relations Committee.
But he also has a reputation as a windy speaker, and his passionate oratorical style sometimes makes him prone to gaffes.
On September 10, the Delaware senator was a bit too honest for his own good when he said that Obama's defeated primary rival Hillary Clinton was "easily qualified to be vice president of the United States of America."
"And quite frankly, it might have been a better pick than me, but she is first rate," Biden said while campaigning in New Hampshire.
Biden has also struggled for air time and coverage from journalists since McCain picked Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his running mate.
Palin and Biden will clash in a vice presidential debate on October 2.
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