WASHINGTON — It might have just been one more slip of the tongue by Joe Biden, but it certainly underscored the implications of the vice president's decision to pop by the Iowa State Society's Inaugural Ball on Saturday night.

This was, after all, a room packed with die-hard Democratic party faithful from the state that just happens to host the first-in-the-nation caucuses and therefore the inside track to the 2016 presidential nomination.

Biden took the stage with his two sons Beau and Hunter and the Iowa Congressional delegation's three Democrats, Sen. Tom Harkin and Reps. Bruce Braley and Dave Loebsack.

As he began talking up his boss, Biden dropped this gem:

"I am proud to be president of the United States, but I am prouder to be Barack - I mean, excuse me," Biden said, as the crowd broke up with laughter that quickly morphed into cheering.

Eventually Biden managed to get the line out correctly:

"I am proud to be vice president of the United States, but I am prouder to be . . . President Barack Obama's vice president."

Biden spoke for a little under ten minutes, highlighting Iowa's unique role in launching Obama's presidential campaign back in 2008. Obama's victory in Iowa, with its overwhelmingly white population and large tracts of rural areas, gave the campaign a huge boost in credibility.

The vice president noted that Iowa played a key role again as a swing state in the 2012 election.

When the campaign asked him to work on Iowa last year, Biden said, he immediately dialed up Harkin. He said Harkin played a "gigantic role" in crafting the campaign's strategy.

"Thank you for those breakfasts at my home where Tom literally sat at the vice president's residence and laid out - not generically, but laid out specifically - where I should go, how I should get there, when I should do it, what order it was," Biden told the crowd.

Maybe Biden will find a future use for that information.

Outgoing Iowa Democratic Party Chairwoman Sue Dvorsky said that she and her husband were invited over to Biden's house on Sunday night.

"The vice president is loving him some Iowa," Dvorsky said.

Contact the writer: 202-630-4823, joe.morton@owh.com, twitter.com/MortonOWH

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