Biden campaigned in Iowa Monday.
IOWA CITY, Iowa (CNN) - Joe Biden kicked off his Fourth of July swing through Iowa with a harsh rebuke of the Bush administration’s conduct on international and domestic fronts.
The 2008 Democratic hopeful railed against the president’s decision to commute the prison sentence of former administration aide Lewis “Scooter” Libby.
“That is what you might call tone-deaf or brain-dead. One of the two,” Biden told the Iowa City audience. “When the war is going to hell in a handbasket , when our leadership around the world is literally on the balls of its heels instead of engaging in any uniting effort to bring the country together what does he do? He takes one of the most controversial political stands he could do to enrage the country. This is an administration beyond redemption in my view.”
To the delight of the assembled crowd, Biden also said he thought the “House of Representatives could, if it chose, find reasonable grounds to bring articles of impeachment” against Vice President Dick Cheney. An aide said the Delaware senator was not advocating that such steps be pursued given the time and energy it would take away from larger issues like Iraq.
The war dominated Biden’s remarks as he walked and talked to roughly 50 members of the local gay community and others that gathered on a pleasant summer evening outside of Givanni’s restaurant in Iowa City. He called the war a “boulder in the middle of the road” that is preventing work on other issues like education from getting done.
Biden acknowledged his sometimes singular focus on Iraq, but when a woman asked him why he had not yet unveiled a universal health care plan, he said it was not because he did not have one but because of the present reality on the campaign trail.
“If I put it out now in the doldrums of the summer when I’m the guy that they’re saying may break out of the second tier it’ll end up on page 7 of the New York Times. It’ll end up on page 15 of the Washington Post. . . . They think the game is being played where the money is,” he said.
A Biden aide told the Ticker the campaign raised between $2.4 million and $2.5 million this quarter – quite a difference from the astronomical numbers being reported out of the Obama and Clinton campaigns.
“If I raised $20 million tomorrow I would be in the top tier immediately,” Biden said. “I must tell you I find it obscene that you have to raise $35 million a quarter to be able to compete. . . . The truth of the matter is the folks with the money want to marginalize the early primaries and caucuses so you can go straight to wholesale politics, but I haven’t heard anybody in Iowa, and I’ve been around a lot, asking me about how much money do I have before you vote for me. You’re asking me about my ideas,” he said to applause.
- CNN Senior Political Producer Sasha Johnson