(CNN)This year's presidential contest was a substance-free spectacle, Vice President Joe Biden lamented on Thursday.
Biden: I'm 'embarrassed' by the campaign
"This has been a very tough election. It's been ugly, it's been divisive, it's been coarse, it's been dispiriting. And it was more a battle of personalities than it was a battle of ideas in my view," Biden told a crowd at a post-election forum convened by New York University in Washington.
"I find myself embarrassed by the nature of the way in which this campaign was conducted," he said. "So much for the shining city on the hill," he said.
In his talk, Biden characterized the election as devoid of policy or discussions of governance.
"Why wasn't there more discussion?" he asked. "Hillary Clinton was the single most qualified on the fact of it to run for president of the United States that we've had, period. It wasn't that she didn't have all these ideas. She did. But the press, you didn't cover it."
But he said it was understandable the media would forgo stories about each candidate's position on the issues for more salacious reporting.
"It wasn't your fault," he said. "When a guy talks about grabbing a woman's private parts, when a guy says some of the incredibly outrageous things that were said, it sucks up all the oxygen in the air."
And he issued a jab at simplistic campaign trail sloganeering, asking the crowd, "Other than 'Make America Great Again' and 'Forward Together,' what did you know about the last election?" the Vice President said. (Hillary Clinton's campaign motto was actually "Stronger Together").
In his remarks, Biden said progressives must remain vigilant once Donald Trump assumes office.
"We should not remain silent one instant when this administration goes after the progressive values we care about," he said. "We should not back away one scintilla from the arguments and the merits of all the things we care about. But we should listen and we should realize the American people are a lot better than they're given credit for right now."