Humorous political jabs are often employed by Democrats and Republicans both. They allow each party to critique the other in a way that is not too hostile or indecorous.
For instance, President Obama was rather unsparing in his recent quip about Ted Cruz and his climate change naysaying:
“Ted Cruz said that denying the existence of climate change made him like Galileo. Now that’s not really an apt comparison. Galileo believed the Earth revolves around the sun. Ted Cruz believes the Earth revolves around Ted Cruz.”
But he was an equal-opportunity joker. Joe Biden didn’t even escape unscathed, as Obama took a shot at the Vice President’s famous lack of…personal space:
“Those Joe Biden shoulder massages are like magic. You should try one.”
“Oh, you have?”
What’s more, the setting-- the White House Correspondents’ Dinner--- was apropos.
Texas Senator and Presidential hopeful Ted Cruz’s timing? Not so much.
Ted Cruz's stab at Biden at a recent GOP dinner came just four days after Biden lost his eldest son, Beau Biden, to cancer, and on the fortnight of Beau’s burial.
"Vice President Joe Biden. You know the nice thing? You don't need a punchline.”
"I promise you it works. The next party you're at, just walk up to someone and say, 'Vice President Joe Biden' and just close your mouth. They will crack up laughing,"
Cruz has made this joke (or anti-joke, we suppose) on other occasions, and has faced no media outrage.
This time, however, Detroit News reporter Chad Livengood confronted Cruz, asking why he chose to tell a joke about the VP at that particular time. The Senator walked away without comment.
This was followed by considerable social media backlash.
In response, Cruz has offered the following apology:
"It was a mistake to use an old joke about Joe Biden during his time of grief, and I sincerely apologize."
"The loss of his son is heartbreaking and tragic, and our prayers are very much with the vice president and his family."
Beau Biden served as Delaware attorney general from 2007-2015. He advocated for anti-bullying measures and pushed for prosecutions of child sex crimes.
Senator Chris Coons remembers Biden as “"an extraordinary father, husband, son, and public servant, but above all . . . a good and decent man."