A Mercer University student found herself on the receiving end of an insult Sunday from Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, who called her a “lying, dog-faced pony soldier” in response to a question.
The remark, which came during a campaign stop in New Hampshire, has gone viral on Twitter, and nearly two dozen national media sites have reported on the incident.
Madison Moore, a 21-year-old economics student at Mercer in Macon, Ga., said Biden’s comment came after she asked a question at a campaign event as part of a student trip. She said Monday she did not plan for her question to blow up and create a national media story.
“If I had expected that I would’ve worn makeup,” Moore told The Telegraph. “I would’ve looked a lot cuter.”
Moore asked Biden a question about his performance in last week’s Iowa caucuses, where he finished in fourth place.
Moore asked, “How do you explain the performance in Iowa, and why should voters believe that you can win the national election?”
Biden retorted, “Iowa’s a caucus. Have you ever been to a caucus?”
After nodding “yes,” Biden came back with an insult: “No, you haven’t. You’re a lying, dog-faced pony soldier.”
Biden has used the phrase before and has said it comes from a John Wayne movie.
Moore said she did not find what Biden said to be funny at all and felt she asked him a fair question. She added that for people to say he was joking is “kind of insulting.”
“It was kind of humiliating to be called a liar on national TV by the former vice president,” Moore said. “Instead of answering that question straightforward, his immediate response was to attempt to invalidate me by exposing my inexperience.”
Moore said she was nervous when Biden pressed her on whether she had ever been to a caucus before and nodded her head yes. She has never been to a caucus but felt that was irrelevant.
“He has been performing extremely poorly in this race and the fact that he couldn’t just straight answer my question without bullying or intimidating just exacerbates that fact,” said Moore, who is from Fernandina Beach, Fla. “I am 21-year old college student, like, what the hell do I know? Who cares who I am or my experience? Just answer the damn question.”
Mercer’s Chris Grant, a political science professor who is heading up the trip, said that his main goal of the trip is to give students a chance to gain insight into the political process, and help students get involved.
“Madison asked a completely reasonable question (to) a very experienced politician and unfortunately got an answer that was not in that candidate’s best interest,” Grant said in a Facebook message to The Macon Telegraph. “I think it’s an amazing learning experience for our students to be able to see this up close.”
He added, “She certainly has reason to be upset with the vice president’s response.”
As Biden wrapped up his answer, he conceded that it was a legitimate question, according to The Washington Post. He also said he doesn’t think the Iowa caucus is a good measure of how a candidate will perform in other states.
Even President Donald Trump’s son weighed in on the incident via Twitter, saying that “If he (Biden) can’t handle a simple question from one of his own supporters, how can Joe Biden possibly take on Donald Trump one on one for six months?”