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Biden mistakenly blesses Irish leader's mother

March 17, 2010

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WASHINGTON—Vice President Joe Biden asked for God's blessing for the late mother of Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen during a White House celebration of St. Patrick's Day -- except the elderly lady is very much alive.

"God rest her soul," Biden said Wednesday night as he introduced Cowen and President Barack Obama. He quickly caught himself and noted that it's Cowen's father who is no longer living. Of the prime minister's mother, Biden said, "God bless her soul."

Biden then cited the Irish proverb that "a silent mouth is sweet to hear" and yielded the podium to the president.