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Joe Biden On Hillary, Edwards And Obama

From the New York Observer:

Biden Unbound: Lays Into Clinton, Obama, Edwards

Loquacious Senator, Democratic Candidate on Hillary: ‘Four of 10 Is the Max You Can Get?’ Edwards ‘Doesn’t Know What He’s Talking About’

By Jason Horowitz

Senator Joseph Biden doesn’t think highly of the Iraq policies of some of the other Democrats who are running for President.

To hear him tell it, Hillary Clinton’s position is calibrated, confusing and “a very bad idea.” John Edwards doesn’t know what he’s talking about and is pushing a recipe for Armageddon in the Middle East. Barack Obama is offering charming but insubstantial fluff. And all of them are playing politics.

“Let me put it this way,” Mr. Biden said. “You didn’t hear any one of them get in this debate at all until they announced for President.”

Mr. Biden, who ran an ill-fated campaign for President in 1988, is a man who believes his time has finally come, announcing this week that he was filing papers to make his 2008 Presidential bid official. Although he admits to a tendency to “bloviate,” he thinks that an aggressive advocate with rough edges might be just what the party needs right now. “Democrats nominated the perfect blow-dried candidates in 2000 and 2004,” he said, “and they couldn’t connect.” …

On a recent weekday afternoon, he was discussing his rivals over a bowl of tomato soup in the corner of a diner in Delaware, about a 15-minute drive from his Senate office. He wore a red cardigan and blue shirt, periodically raising his raspy voice over the sound of loudspeakers summoning customers to pick up their sandwiches. He had showed up carrying a Mead notebook filled with handwritten talking points, but once he’d gotten started, he closed the book and pushed it aside.

The subject he prefers to talk about these days—particularly when contrasting himself with his prospective Presidential rivals—is Iraq.

Addressing Mrs. Clinton’s latest proposal to cap American troops and to threaten Iraqi leaders with cuts in funding, Mr. Biden lowered his voice and leaned in close over the table.

“From the part of Hillary’s proposal, the part that really baffles me is, ‘We’re going to teach the Iraqis a lesson.’ We’re not going to equip them? O.K. Cap our troops and withdraw support from the Iraqis? That’s a real good idea.”

The result of Mrs. Clinton’s position on Iraq, Mr. Biden says, would be “nothing but disaster.”

“Are they going to turn to Hillary Clinton?” Biden asked, lowering his voice to a hush to explain why Mrs. Clinton won’t win the election.

“Everyone in the world knows her,” he said. “Her husband has used every single legitimate tool in his behalf to lock people in, shut people down. Legitimate. And she can’t break out of 30 percent for a choice for Democrats? Where do you want to be? Do you want to be in a place where 100 percent of the Democrats know you? They’ve looked at you for the last three years. And four out of 10 is the max you can get?

Mr. Biden is equally skeptical—albeit in a slightly more backhanded way—about Mr. Obama. “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” he said. “I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”

But—and the “but” was clearly inevitable—he doubts whether American voters are going to elect “a one-term, a guy who has served for four years in the Senate,” and added: “I don’t recall hearing a word from Barack about a plan or a tactic.” …

Mr. Biden seemed to reserve a special scorn for Mr. Edwards, who suffered from a perceived lack of depth in foreign policy in the Presidential election of 2004.

I don’t think John Edwards knows what the heck he is talking about,” Mr. Biden said, when asked about Mr. Edwards’ advocacy of the immediate withdrawal of about 40,000 American troops from Iraq.

“John Edwards wants you and all the Democrats to think, ‘I want us out of there,’ but when you come back and you say, ‘O.K., John’”—here, the word “John” became an accusatory, mocking refrain—“‘what about the chaos that will ensue? Do we have any interest, John, left in the region?’ Well, John will have to answer yes or no. If he says yes, what are they? What are those interests, John? How do you protect those interests, John, if you are completely withdrawn? Are you withdrawn from the region, John? Are you withdrawn from Iraq, John? In what period? So all this stuff is like so much Fluffernutter out there. So for me, what I think you have to do is have a strategic notion. And they may have it—they are just smart enough not to enunciate it.”

The targets of Mr. Biden’s criticism, whether out of shock, indifference or a calculation that it would be unwise in this case to meet fire with fire, declined to respond in kind…

They might have drilled too deep for Mr. Biden’s hair plugs.

Mr. Biden is equally skeptical—albeit in a slightly more backhanded way—about Mr. Obama. “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” he said.

Just like Hillary, Mr. Biden has tripped over his tongue right out of the blocks.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, January 31st, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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