Viral Photo of Joe Biden Biting a Woman's Finger Slightly Less Weird in Context

Photo: Getty Images

Have you seen that viral photo of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden biting or sucking on a woman’s finger? It’s a real photo, believe it or not. But the bizarre moment looks slightly less weird when you see the video. Slightly.

The photo comes from an event on Saturday, November 30 in Council Bluffs, Iowa—the town where Joe Biden kicked off his “No Malarkey!” bus tour. Malarkey is old timey slang for the more commonly used term “bullshit,” and the Biden campaign apparently thinks it’s a cute slogan, despite the fact that it reminds voters Biden is 77 years old and not getting any younger.

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But the kickoff event wasn’t just overshadowed by an antiquated word. This strange finger-biting photo is currently spreading like wildfire on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, and it’s easy to see why.

Photo: Getty Images

What’s actually going on here? The woman at the podium is Joe’s wife Jill Biden, and the moment, captured by photographer Joshua Lott for Getty Images, is a split-second snapshot where Joe playfully bit his wife’s finger because she was waving her hand in front of his face.

If you take a look at video from the event, taken from multiple angles, it’s clear that the “bite” was just a very quick joke.

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Gif: YouTube

It’s still a little weird, but less weird than the still image. Frozen in time, it’s difficult to figure out why Joe would be sucking on a woman’s finger.

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As you can probably guess, the internet has done what it always does with moments like these. It created a meme, complete with Joe Biden as Grandpa Shark, set to the popular song “Baby Shark.”

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While Biden is getting Baby Shark-d, President Trump is getting remixed with The Ramones, Morrissey, and Bright Eyes. It’s hard to appear less cool than Donald Trump, but Biden may have achieved it.

How did Biden’s event go otherwise this weekend? Not great, all things considered. Biden had just 150 people show up for his kickoff event on Saturday, according to the Washington Post. By comparison, Bernie Sanders attracted 2,400 people last month for a similar event in Iowa.

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Political pundits and many average Americans seem convinced that Joe Biden is the only one who can truly beat Trump, though there’s no strong evidence to back up that assertion. Yes, Biden has done well in national polls, but as we know from 2016, the national polls don’t matter. Hillary Clinton won the national vote by almost 3 million. What matters is how a handful of states like Florida, Michigan, and Ohio vote, swinging the electoral college one way or another. And it’s not clear that people who might already be open to voting for Trump would vote for a Biden-style moderate.

In Florida, for instance, a hypothetical match between Trump and Biden shows former vice president Biden winning by just 2 percentage points. In other words, it’s a dead heat.

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Biden’s campaign is particularly weak when it comes to online outreach. This weekend’s kickoff event, as just one example, wasn’t livestreamed on YouTube or any other video streaming service. If you visit the Biden YouTube account, you’ll see boring political ads from a week ago. Why does that matter? YouTube is the most popular social network for young people and the Trump campaign livestreams every one of his rallies on platforms like YouTube and Twitch.

Biden’s only strong base of support appears to be Boomers who may or may not live long enough to cast a vote in November 2020. Joe Biden would obviously be a better president than Donald Trump, a man whose entire presidency has been built on racism, cruelty, and whining. But almost anyone would be better than Donald Trump. And with 11 months before the election, there’s plenty of time for gaffe-prone Biden to continue sticking his foot in his mouth. Or anyone else’s foot, as it were.

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About the author

Matt Novak

Matt Novak is the editor of Gizmodo's Paleofuture blog