Tales from the Trail

In the other White House war …

USA/He almost said it, but he didn’t. Vice President Joe Biden, who has a reputation for verbal gaffes, almost asked “Who cares?” but stopped himself, when he weighed in on the White House’s latest war of words with his predecessor, former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Cheney, a repeated critic of the Obama administration’s foreign policy initiatives, this week accused President Barack Obama of “dithering” and being scared to make a decision on whether to send more troops to Afghanistan.

“I think that is absolutely wrong. I think what the administration is doing is exactly what we said it would do.  And what I think it warrants doing. And that is making an informed judgment based upon circumstances that have changed … to come up with a sustainable policy that has more than one dimension,” Biden told pool reporters traveling with him at the U.S. Ambassador’s residence in Prague.

But the Democratic vice president worked hard to keep his foot firmly out of his mouth, after looking piqued when asked about Cheney’s suggestion that Republican former President George W. Bush’s administration had left behind a thorough assessment of the Afghanistan war, according to a pool report.

“Well, look, I don’t …” Biden said, and then paused, the report said.  “Who cares what …” he began again, sounding annoyed. He paused again, looking as though he wanted to stuff the words back in his mouth.

Joe Biden says Sarah Palin deserves respect

SARASOTA, Fla. – Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden said on Wednesday Republican rival Sarah Palin deserves respect.
 
Biden said he assumes that the first-term Alaska governor is qualified to be second in command of the United States, but has not yet made a decision.
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“She is governor of a state. She warrants respect,” Biden told a town-hall style meeting in Sarasota, Florida, shortly before Palin was to address the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota.
 
“The only thing that I have to find out and you have to find out is what are her views,” said Biden, a member of the Senate for 35 years who faces Palin in a debate next month.
 
“I have made no judgment about whether or not she is qualified … (but) I’m assuming as governor of a state, even though she’s only be there a couple (of years) that she’s qualified.”
 
He said that will be determined by her views and what she would do as vice president.
 
Looking ahead to their debate, Biden said, “I will walk in with respecting her significant accomplishments and we will make our differences known and that is what we will debate. at least that is what my expectation is.”

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.

Photo credit: Reuters/John Gress

‘Gaffe Machine’ says election is so about the issues

biden3.jpgFORT MYERS, Florida – Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden, mocked by Republicans as a “gaffe machine,” took a swipe Wednesday at a remark by John McCain’s campaign manager that “this election is not about issues.”
 
“This election is not about issues?” Biden asked rhetorically, drawing hoots and hollers at a town-hall style meeting with several hundred people in Fort Myers, Florida. Noting Americans have difficulty paying for such basics as health insurance and gasoline for their cars, Biden said, “Where I come from, that’s an issue.”
 
Campaign manager Rick Davis, in an interview with The Washington Post, said, “This election is not about issues.” He said, “This election is about a composite view of what people take away from these candidates.” He predicted that the more voters get to know McCain and Democratic presidential rival Barack Obama, the more they will like the Republican ticket.
 
Biden bristled. “You have the greatest character in the world, but you are not going to give me a fighting chance that would keep my job. I love ya, but I don’t want you as president,” he said.
 
During 35 years in the Senate, the fast-talking, often long-winded Biden has earned a reputation for gaffes. Republicans count two since last week’s Democratic National Convention — when he referred to Obama as “Barack America” and put himself on the top of the ticket by saying he was “running for president.”
 
On Wednesday, Biden made another slip of the tongue. In promising to help Americans if elected, he said, “the Biden, excuse me, the Obama-Biden administration.” Amid laughter, he added, “Believe me, you all got it right: Obama-Biden.” 

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage

- Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Young 

Biden hails Michelle Obama’s speech as pivotal

As far as vice presidential candidate Joe Biden is concerned, Michelle Obama has given what will prove to be the most pivotal speech at the four-day Democratic Convention.

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And Biden predicted on Tuesday that her prime-time address at the opening of the convention on Monday will help propel her husband, Barack Obama, to the White House.

“Wasn’t that the most incredible speech you ever heard,” Biden, who addresses the convention on Wednesday, a day before Barack Obama steps to the podium, told a breakfast meeting of convention delegates from Biden’s home state of Delaware.