January 2nd, 2008
02:35 PM ET
2 years ago

Biden highlights Clinton Pakistan gaffe

Biden got tough on Clinton over her recent comments on Pakistan.

Biden got tough on Clinton over her recent comments on Pakistan.

(CNN) - Democrat Joe Biden suggested Tuesday that presidential rival Hillary Clinton doesn't adequately understand recent events in Pakistan.

The Delaware senator was responding to news that Clinton suggested in two recent interviews that Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is up for reelection this month.

Musharraf was actually reelected in October, and the upcoming Pakistani elections are parliamentary, not presidential.

"We have a number of candidates who are well-intentioned but don't understand Pakistan," Biden said at a campaign event Tuesday. "One of the leading candidates - God love her."

"There are good people running," continued the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who has made his foreign policy credentials a centerpiece of his long shot presidential bid. "But to say Musharraf is up for election! Musharraf was elected - fairly or unfairly - president six months ago. It's about a parliamentary election!"

Clinton's comments came in an interview with ABC Sunday, in which she said, "[Musharraf] could be the only person on the ballot. I don't think that's a real election."

The New York senator also made similar comments during an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer last week, saying then, ""If President Musharraf wishes to stand for election, then he should abide by the same rules that every other candidate will have to follow."

Both gaffes were first noted by conservative Thomas Houlahan, writing for the Middle East Times.

The Clinton campaign has not yet returned a request for comment on Biden's comments, but said yesterday the New York Democrat was referring to Musharraf's party, not himself in particular.

Republican Mike Huckabee took heat last week for also getting key facts about Pakistan wrong in the aftermath of Benazir Bhutto's death. He first suggested the country remained under martial law (it was lifted a few weeks ago) and later said that Pakistan shares its eastern border with Afghanistan (it shares its western border.)

– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney


Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Joe Biden
soundoff (493 Responses)
  1. SR, Atlanta

    When you have elected a President who had no clue about Pakistan or any foreign country, why raise all this stink?

    This is a very small insignificant thing to blow up against.

    THINK BIG, guys.

    January 2, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  2. danielo

    Hail Hillary,
    the master of foreign policy experience who doesn't have a clue whats going on in Pakistan. The master of healthcare that failed flat on her first attempt as co-president with Bill and the Most experienced candidate which includes her years as Bills girlfriend and travelling around the world having tea and cookies with other first ladies. And ooh I forgot, the best agent of change having been in Washinton very long and changed nothing during her time.
    Perfect resume for another 4 years of disaster.

    At least Obama introduced a very significant bill that will change the level of tranparency within the Gorvernment and lobbyst.

    January 2, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  3. Ba Gua

    "How many average americans can point out pakistan on a world map?" Most Americans don't even HAVE a world map, much less world consciousness. And half of them think Bush & Texas & Jesus are the center of the universe.

    January 2, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  4. JIM, HAVERTOWN PA

    im no Biden fan, but I'd actually rather see him in power over the 3 lightweights currently at the top of the Democratic polls right now...

    his plagarizing and some politically incorrect comments he has made over the years take away any real shot he had of being President...

    the attempt to say Clinton was referring to Musharaff's party is as laughable as Romney trying to explain away his comment about seeing his dad march with MLK...

    January 2, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  5. John

    Bill from OHIO hits the nail on the head. If you really care about this country, scroll back to see his comment. If not, continue the mean spirited, small minded critisim and foolishness that has dragged this country down in the past seven years!

    January 2, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  6. Bob

    Joe is right. Clinton goofed. Which proves she is human.

    January 2, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  7. Rory, Savannah GA

    Why doesn't CNN just give a whole day just to Biden starting right now? He's the only Democrat that has any sense at all.

    Not to say the Republicans are any better. All of them are preaching to the Christian conservatives instead of what's good for this country.

    January 2, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  8. David, Dallas Tx

    Why did Clinton make this gaffe, and not Obama, if Clinton is the so-called more experienced leader on foreign affairs, "ready to lead from day one"?

    Maybe it's because Obama sits on the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, and Clinton does not. Obama, in fact, chairs a Foreign Relations sub-committee.

    Obama's foreign experience credentials do not depend on his spouse.

    'Nuff said.

    January 2, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  9. Jon, Lantana, FL

    Ok, I just have to say this. It all just depends on who you like. You can take any and all of the candidates on the ballot and prove that they have made unintelligent mistakes in the past. Biden himself voted for the No Child Left Behind act and then flipflopped and decided it was a mistake, same goes with the Iraq War, he is also in support of send 2500 of our already depleted military force to Sudan to help with the genocide/civil war going on in Darfur. Yes, we are a global economy, but the most important issues are genuinely domestic, protection, economy, and insurance that our own citizens are taken care of in every way FIRST and foremost.

    January 2, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  10. Susie

    Biden is so right on. Hillary's foreign policy and so called other experience is blatant. Just like her flip-flop on drivers licenses, we've seen first hand now that she isn't what she claims to be. Obama/Biden is a great and winning ticket. Obama has the money and organization to go the distance, and Biden will provide all the foreign policy experience needed. They will make a perfect team.

    Everyone in Iowa who loves Biden – if he isn't viable, vote Obama and let them team up for the general. We all know Hillary owes way too many favors to surrogates at this point to offer Biden any significant position in a Hill administration. Obama/Biden all the way!

    January 2, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  11. Lisa - Albany, NY

    As a New Yorker, I'm glad to see the media is trying to be more objective. I don't like her being my representative in NY and I certainly don't think she's qualified to be the President. She's been so busy with her campaign, she hasn't been in session to vote on anything. So who is representing me? NO ONE!

    January 2, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  12. apostle324

    OBAMA is not an American Citizen ...Proof in Election Headquarters in DC
    He can only help the Republicans win Congress and Presidentcy in 2008

    January 2, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  13. Next Stop Lauderdale

    IF (ha, ha, ha, ha,) she was referring to the Party and not the candidate, you only have to go to the details to see that during the upcomming party election there are multiple Parties. If she wasn't lying when she said "[Musharraf] could be the only person on the ballot. I don't think that's a real election." This would mean that his party would be the only one on the ballot.

    This proves that when she said it the first time (as Biden noted) that she proved that she is an idiot and when she said it the second time she proved she was a liar (again).

    January 2, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  14. Mark C, Asheville NC

    *** So she got a small detail wrong. At least she didn't declare war because of it. ***

    SMALL DETAIL???? The elections are fundamentally what's going on right now in Pakistan, the world's #1 hot spot. And Clinton has shown she really has no idea what's going on at all.

    January 2, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  15. Yogi

    Big deal, why would she know anything about Pakistan? What importance does it have?.....

    Oh yeah, you would think she would KNOW this. These Washington idiots just like the parties and fame, and don't do any real work or know anything. Just political mannequins.

    January 2, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  16. Petulant Pundit, Las Vegas, NV

    Biden has been in the Senate for how long? He's represented one of the smallest states in the country and has run for President how many times? How come his message is not catching-on? Maybe because he's a blowhard and doesn't know what he's talking about. While he can pad his resume and make up stories about his background better that anyone in politics – aside from the congenital liar Hillary, of course – he's right about one thing: Hillary has no real experience running anything. She's a phony, a fake, and a liar. Anyone who supports her needs a brain scan to make sure they even have a brain. Do we need four more years of a Clinton in the White House? Do we need the drama? Isn't it time for fresh ideas? Kucinich and Richardson are jokes. Biden has been part of the problem for the past 25 years and has not accomplished anything major as a senator. He's a blowhard of the first order. Edwards is a slick trial lawyer ambulance chaser with no management experience. Butter won't melt in his mouth, and he blinks too much when he talks – a sign of deception. He's a phony and has no chance. Dodd has no chance and all he's got going for him is his nice white hair. Another do-nothing senator from a tiny state and a northeastern liberal to boot. No chance to win – nobody is listening to him and no one cares. The democrats need someone fairly normal and they've got nobody! The Repubs will pulverize them in November.

    January 2, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  17. kdj

    How many times did she visit Pakistan as First Lady? Must not have been too many since that is where her foreign policy experience was gained. :-)

    January 2, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  18. 2centsworth

    If you truly want to solve problems of government, you must hold your own candidate to the highest standard. You cannot elect a lying, posing, hanger-on of any party and expect issues of war, education, health care, etc. to be resolved.

    UNTIL YOU STOP MAKING EXCUSES AND RATIONALIZING FOR THESE UNSCRUPULOUS PEOPLE REPRESENTING YOUR PARTY, THE CIRCUS WILL NEVER LEAVE TOWN.

    TO THOSE WHO WOULD MAKE EXCUSES FOR THEIR OWN: SHAME ON YOU!
    THE PEOPLE ARE SUFFERING FOR YOUR VAIN NEED TO BE A "WINNER".

    January 2, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  19. steve

    Is there any truth to the rumor Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf was offered a snapple and said no thank you too fruity.

    January 2, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  20. Foreign Experience

    Apostle324, you're living proof that CNN gives everyone a forum. This is so
    ridiculous that's it's laughable. If ignorance is bliss, are we happy yet?

    So Clinton's the great policy expert on Pakistan. Maybe a Pakistani owns the convenience store down the street from her!

    In all seriousness, admit you goofed and move on. Biden is correct as usual. Let's see! No WMD's in Iraq, no nuclear weapons program in Iran, dropped the ball on a mandated health care plan and now wants to do it again. If this is experience, may heaven help us!

    January 2, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  21. John, New York, NY

    Two brief thoughts:

    1) In terms of foreign policy, Joe Biden is hands down the best choice among the field (both Rep and Dem). If not President, he'd make an awsome Sec. of State.

    2) For those inclined to criticize Hillary for a lack of knowledge (and I acknowledge that this one was a MAJOR gaffe) please remember that there is a difference between inherent smarts and being informed. While I don't doubt her intelligence, I think Hillary is not as informed as we would like....or need.

    January 2, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  22. jim Scottsdale AZ

    Please stop with Republican vs Democrats both parties have helped to destroy this Country and get us into the mess we are in. Please look at the price of Gold today almost 850.00 an ounce and the price of oil and the debt we are in 60 trillion.
    We borrow and trade with China that holds the paper on us now but we can not trade with Cuba, because it is a Communist Country>?

    We need someone that is Indelpendent for all these people that are part of the "Washington Party " Wake up America, nothing is for free. Enjoy yourself when you go to work from Jan 1st until July 11th for the Govt and have nothing to show for it .

    The Foreign policy and the economy are the issues. The only person that undersatnds that is Ron Paul. I know some of the things he is for is out there, but listen to what he has to say. he at least has read the Constitution and understands it.

    These people run under the platform everthing is free the Govt will take care of you. THAT IS OUR MONEY not theirs.

    January 2, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  23. Joan Collins

    I think everyone one out to read this to understand the extend of clinton's deceptions about her FABRICATED EXPERIENCE.

    Wait...You Mean Hillary Isn't the Smartest Woman in the World?
    Posted by Kim Priestap
    Published: Jan 1, 08 03:34 PM
    The press focused a lot on Huckabee for misstating the status of Pakistan's state of martial law following the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. Twice now, Hillary Clinton made a mistake in an answer to a question about Pakistan. According to the Politico, she said that President Pervez Musharraf was "a 'candidate' who would be 'on the ballot.'" However, as the Politico points out, Musharraf was reelected on October 6th:

    Senator Hillary Clinton was praised in the wake of the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto for demonstrating her command of the players and the issues at stake in Pakistan, even as another candidate, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, was criticized for stumbling over details.
    But in two confident television appearances, on CNN and ABC, Clinton made an elementary error about Pakistani politics: She described President Pervez Musharraf as a "candidate" who would be "on the ballot."

    In fact, Musharraf was re-elected to the presidency in October. The upcoming elections are for parliament, and while Musharraf's party will be facing off against opposition parties, the president himself is not a candidate.

    Musharraf's reelection was all over the mainstream media because of the controversy surrounding it, which makes Hillary's mistake that much more glaring. Here's what she said:

    "If President Musharraf wishes to stand for election, then he should abide by the same rules that every other candidate will have to follow," she told CNN's Wolf Blitzer (.pdf) December 28.
    "He could be the only person on the ballot. I don't think that's a real election," she told ABC's George Stephanopolous December 30.

    Many of you may remember that back in 1999 when then governor George W. Bush was running for president, a reporter surprised Bush with a "pop quiz" about international leaders. Bush didn't do so well, and the media pounced on it, showing the video over and over again. However, as governor of Texas, he wasn't in regular contact with foreign leaders, so his lack of knowledge was somewhat explainable. This is also the case for Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas.

    Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has made a big deal of the fact that, as first lady, she was in the White House for 8 years and traveled to many foreign lands to meet with foreign leaders and dignitaries, which she argues gives her foreign policy experience above and beyond that of her Democratic primary opponents. She also said that she risked her life on one of these trips, a characterization that is now being described as an exaggeration:

    The dictum around the Oval Office in the '90s, she added, was: "If a place was too dangerous, too poor or too small, send the first lady."
    It turns out that Clinton wasn't quite flying solo into harm's way that day.

    She was, in fact, leading a goodwill entourage that included baggy-pants funnyman Sinbad, singer Sheryl Crow and Clinton's daughter, Chelsea, then 15, according to an account of the March 1995 trip in her autobiography "Living History."

    As the plane approached the runway, the pilot ordered the Clintons into the armored front of the plane, Clinton writes.

    What's not clear is whether Sinbad or Crow were invited to the cockpit or had to brave it out in the unprotected rear.

    Senator Clinton is looking quite foolish after setting up her foreign policy experience like this because she has set an expectation that she didn't fulfill. Not knowing that Pervez Musharraf is the president of Pakistan who won reelection in October and that the elections on January 8th, which will probably be postponed after Bhutto's assassination, are for Parliament is really unacceptable, especially since Pakistan is such an important hot spot in the War on Terror.

    Captain Ed is commenting on this. So are Dan Riehl and Scott Hinderaker. Will the mainstream media give it any attention?

    Update: Bryan at Hot Air, who is far more informed on Pakistan politics than I, points out that not only was Hillary wrong about what kind of elections are taking place and that Musharraf will not on the ballot, but he also points out that she was completely wrong on everything she said about Pakistan. Bryan explains:

    Let's take this piecemeal. The Pakistani People's Party, or PPP, is a hereditary party. Benazir Bhutto became its leader when her father was executed after conviction in a highly questionable trial (not "assassinated," as Clinton has said), and upon Bhutto's assassination, her son took the reins because Bhutto had left the party's leadership to him in her will. Therefore, there was no choice to be made in the PPP's leadership. It had been made before Bhutto's death, because the PPP isn't democratically run.
    Second, Nawaz Sharif can't run. He's a convicted felon. His party can participate in elections, but he's barred from running. Musharraf could have pardoned Sharif as he had pardoned Bhutto in late 2007, but he hadn't, so according to the law Sharif was barred from standing for election.

    Now that you know the true facts, be sure to watch the video of Hillary's comments so you can actually see her in all her ignorance.

    Update II: Bryan asked why none of her opponents have called her on her errors. MSNBC notes that Joe Biden is commenting on Hillary's gaffe, but only the part about Musharraf not being on the ballot.

    Currently 4.6/5 1 2 3 4 5 Thanks for voting!
    Rating: 4.7/5 (15 votes cast)

    January 2, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  24. RD

    RF in hillsborogh --– If my memory is correct Hillary did vote for the war. Sorry just thought you ought to be reminded. She voted for the war then was against the war. Now as president she is going to bring the troops home if elected. wait last I heard she said they would need to stay there a while. Not real sure what she is thinking

    January 2, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  25. Terry

    Iowa needs to give her a clear wake up call. Let's put a end to the Clinton's mess.

    NO HILLARY in '08 or...EVER!

    January 2, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
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