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Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes figured laughter was the best medicine for a verbal flub made with most of the nation watching.
He had elicited a mixture of raised eyebrows and wry smiles when he ended the Democratic National Convention’s roll call vote on Tuesday with the announcement that “Wisconsin cast 30 votes for Bernie Sanders and 67 for the next president of the United States of America, Joseph Bidens.”
While he quickly corrected himself, stating the presidential nominee’s real name, Joseph R. Biden, he later acknowledged his high-profile faux pas on Twitter, saying: “To all the Joe Bidens, congrats on your official nomination!”
Milwaukee, in Barnes’ home state of Wisconsin, had initially been selected as the host city for the DNC but was stripped of the usual pomp and much of the economic boost surrounding the event after the coronavirus pandemic forced the festivities into an entirely virtual format.
The hype, which would have brought some 50,000 people to Milwaukee, was further dampened when the DNC decided to replace this year’s logo — featuring a silhouette of Wisconsin — with that of the U.S. to avoid confusion about where guest speakers were located.
“This is a community that’s been faced with some significant challenges due to historical injustice but what many don’t see is the joy, the resilience, and opportunity that lies within this community and so many others across America just like it,” Barnes said during his speech.
“We know that we build a better future for our nation by channeling Wisconsin’s legacy as the birthplace of labor and the progressive movement and uniting around the bold inclusive agenda that uplifts every community and the pursuit of a more just future,” he added. “One that recognizes health care as a human right, one that tackles the climate crisis and takes on racial and economic injustice.”