A microphone is every politician’s greatest friend — and biggest enemy. An unguarded F-bomb can threaten to derail even the most signature of achievements. The signing of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act was one of the Administration’s biggest victories, and Joe Biden made sure everyone knew it. On March 23, 2010, he had just wrapped up his remarks about the landmark legislation in the East Room of the White House and was turning the podium over to Obama, who would then sign the bill into law. Amid a hug and a handshake, Biden couldn’t contain his glee. He whispered in the president’s ear, “This is a big f—ing deal” — but not quietly enough. (WARNING: This video contains Joe Biden’s unapologetically salty language)
Microphones picked up Biden’s enthusiastically profane remark — which is probably what every Democrat was thinking but only the second-in-command had the guts to say. It inspired millions of rewinds and, in abbreviated form, apparel of all sorts. Still, Biden was largely let off the hook for his colorful comment. Even senior administration officials made light of the situation. “And yes, Mr. Vice President, you’re right,” then-Press Secretary Robert Gibbs tweeted in response.