WASHINGTON — BidenBot, the lifelike, cybernetic machine that poses as Vice President Joe Biden during most of his public appearances, has malfunctioned again during a recent press conference.
During a rousing speech on student loan interest, the vice president suddenly appeared frozen with its eyes and mouth open. Reporters and aides looked on as smoke began to emanate from the machine’s ears. The conference was quickly canceled.
The administration rolled out BidenBot in response to several flubs and gaffes for which the vice president was responsible in the past 4 years. Notable occasions include referring to the president as “Barack America” during the 2008 campaign, cursing during the signing of the health care overhaul and advising Americans not to fly during the swine flu outbreak.
“We think the vice president is great,” said one vice presidential aide, “but we just couldn’t risk any more of these kinds of situations — especially in an election year. To let his incredible work in office speak for itself, we decided to create a robotic version of the vice president. No one notices usually, but unfortunately, today was a rare mishap.”
The last notable malfunction that occurred during a key 2011 speech from President Obama on the federal budget. While many thought the vice president had simply fallen asleep, it was later reported that BidenBot had a low battery and was forced to power down to “hibernation mode.”
As far as Biden’s own feelings about having the robot represent him, the vice presidential aide was quick to assure his approval.
“He understood and actually welcomed the idea,” the aide said. “He’s able to get much more done behind the scenes this way. And if President Obama and Vice President Biden are elected into another term, we don’t expect to need BidenBot quite as much in the coming years. Most likely, the robot will be repurposed to smaller appearances like state fairs and town hall meetings.