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Barney Frank: Biden 'can't keep his mouth shut or his hands to himself'

The former Massachusetts congressman says the vice president could be a great politician if he'd only get out of his own way ... and keep his hands to himself.

When you invite former Rep. Barney Frank to "say anything," you never know what you're going to get. So when veteran talk show host Larry King asked the former congressman to speak his mind about Vice President Joe Biden, the outspoken Massachusetts Democrat didn't hold back.

"Talented and lacks discipline," Frank said Tuesday on Ora TV's "PoliticKING with Larry King." "Joe's his own worst enemy."

"He can't keep his mouth shut or his hands to himself."'

"He's a very bright guy, very good values," he added, praising Biden's idea to divide Iraq into three sections for the country's Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds. "But he just, he can't keep his mouth shut or his hands to himself."

Biden has something of a reputation for his uniquely hands-on political style, which has drawn criticism from some liberals who have questioned why the vice president gets a pass for his literally touchy-feely behavior.

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The latest incident came during the swearing-in ceremony for Defense Secretary Ash Carter, when Biden's hands lingered on Carter's wife's shoulders for roughly 20 seconds until he leaned in and whispered in her ear. Supporters at the time dismissed the awkward moment as "just Biden being Biden."

"It's out of good intentions, but I think he has unfortunately diminished people's perceptions of his abilities," Frank said.

Biden, who has said he'll make a decision about running for president in 2016 at the end of the summer, trails former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the presumed Democratic frontrunner, by a wide margin. In a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 86% of Democratic primary voters said they could see themselves supporting Clinton for the nomination, while only 54% picked the vice president.