October 6, 2014 / 11:15 PM / 5 years ago

White House defends Biden after gaffes, apologies to allies

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speaks with politicians and business owners in a round table discussion on raising the minimum wage at Casa Don Juan restaurant in Las Vegas, October 6, 2014. REUTERS/Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House defended Vice President Joe Biden on Monday after he was forced to call leaders in Turkey and the United Arab Emirates to apologize for remarks he made suggesting they had supported Islamist militants in Syria.

“The vice president is somebody who has enough character to admit when he’s made a mistake,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters.

“(Biden) is somebody who continues to be a core member of the president’s national security team. He is somebody who has decades of experience in dealing with leaders around the globe. And the President is pleased to be able to rely on his advice as we confront the variety of challenges that are so critical to American national security.”

Biden, who has a reputation for verbal missteps, also recently had to apologize for referring to people who squeeze U.S. military personnel on loans and other financial matters as “Shylocks,” a reference to a stereotypical Jewish character in Shakespeare. He also raised eyebrows for using the term “Orient” when referring to Asia.

He is considered a potential presidential candidate in 2016.

Reporting by Roberta Rampton and Jeff Mason; Editing by Peter Cooney

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