Vice President Joe Biden brought his colourful self to Yale University on Sunday, where he gave the graduating class’s “Class Day” speech.
To begin his address, Biden quickly donned his famed aviators and delivered a series of zingers. He didn’t take off the shades for the entire speech.
“I realise no one ever doubts I mean what I say. The problem occasionally is I say all that I mean,” Biden said. “I have a bad reputation for being straight, sometimes at inappropriate times.”
The vice president proceeded to give several such “inappropriate” thoughts.
“So here it goes, let’s get a couple things straight right off the bat: Corvettes are better than Porsches. They’re quicker and they corner as well. And sorry guys, a cappella is not better than rock ‘n roll,” he quipped.
Biden, a Democrat who unsuccessfully ran for president in 2008 and says he may run again in 2016, poked fun at himself as well. Noting it’s been a while since Yale’s football team beat its rival, Harvard University, Biden compared the losing school’s luck to his own.
“One touchdown away from beating Harvard this year for the first time since 2006. So close to something you wanted for eight years. I can only imagine how you feel. I can only imagine,” he said. “So close. So close.”
Biden even dropped some inside references, including a joke about an “Overheard at Yale” Facebook page.
“It’s good to know there’s one Yalie that’s happy I’m being here, at least one. On ‘Overheard at Yale,’ on the Facebook page, one student reported another student saying, and I quote, ‘I had a dream that I was vice president and was with the president. And we did the disco funk dance to convince the Congress to restart the government,'” Biden said. “I’m just glad there’s someone — just someone — who dreams of being vice president. Just somebody. I never had that dream. For the press out there, that’s a joke.”
Many of graduating seniors in the crowd wore traditionally ridiculous hats for the event. Biden repeatedly called attention to their headgear in his speech.
“You know, when President Obama asked me to be his vice president, I said I only had two conditions. One, I wouldn’t wear any funny hats, even on Class Day. And two, I wouldn’t change my brand,” Biden told them.
“Look to your left, as they say, and look to your right. And remember how foolish the people next to you look in those ridiculous hats,” Biden added to close his speech.
“I mean this. Because it means you’ve learned something from a great tradition. It means you’re willing to look foolish … in the service of what matters to you.”
Watch his full address below, which also touched on a number of more serious subjects. (Biden’s speech begins about 1 hour, 10 minutes into the video.)
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