September 17th, 2008
07:29 PM ET
10 years ago

Biden waffles on AIG bailout

Biden shifted his language on the AIG bailout Wednesday.

Biden shifted his language on the AIG bailout Wednesday.

WOOSTER, Ohio (CNN) – A day after saying the federal government should not come to the rescue of insurance giant AIG, Democratic VP nominee Joe Biden shifted his position Wednesday, saying he needs to get more details on the terms of the $85 billion bailout.

"The truth is I don't know what the bailout is yet," Biden said Wednesday afternoon in Maysfield, Ohio. "It looks like they're lending them a little bit of money. I don't know what they've done, I haven't had a brief on it. I haven't spoken to the Secretary of the Treasury."

Biden's answer struck a different tone than his Tuesday reaction. "No, I don't think they should be bailed out by the federal government, I'll tell you what we should do," he said on NBC's Today Show. "We should try to correct the problems that caused this. And what's caused this? The profligate tax cuts to the very, very wealthy that John [McCain] wants to continue. What has caused this is the failure to have regulation...It's this government's policies that have caused [the middle class] to get in great trouble."

Before Biden's Wednesday comments, Barack Obama released a statement saying that any arrangement should protect families that count on the company's insurance.

"It should bolster our economy's ability to create good-paying jobs and help working Americans pay their bills and save their money. It must not bail out the shareholders or management of AIG," said Obama.

A spokesman for the Delaware senator released a statement Wednesday aligning Biden with Obama.

"Joe Biden made it clear that nobody likes bailouts, and we should never have been put in this deep hole as a country," said spokesman David Wade. "Taxpayers shouldn't have to be asked to clean up another mess. But here we are. Senator Obama and Senator Biden agree that whatever happens, the Fed needs to make sure it protects the families that count on insurance, bolsters our ability to create good-paying jobs, and helps working Americans pay their bills and save their money. The answer isn't to bail out the shareholders or management of AIG."

Filed under: Joe Biden
soundoff (232 Responses)
  1. VRM

    I guess it's not coincidence that CNN is using the term waffle. Cute.

    September 17, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  2. will

    Good for you Joe!

    September 17, 2008 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  3. Patrick

    Obama must have put out a directive – they need to come up with a sleazy lawyer back room bail out to make some more ELITE richer. It's a dangerous time for America to have to sleazy lawyers in office – the Mavericks will prevail, McCain/Palin 08. Let's keep the Elite Sleaze of BO and Joey B out of the white house.

    September 17, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  4. matt

    reminds me of john kerry...

    September 17, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  5. David, Silver Spring, MD

    CNN is trying to make a stew out of some pretty thin gruel. Or should I say trying to make a waffle?

    Now if he'd said on Tuesday, "No way should AIG be bailed out," and then on Wednesday, "I'm so glad they bailed out AIG!" But that's not what happened, is it?

    September 17, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  6. John from LA

    Joe-you don't know much about it????-you haven't been briefed???-all you have to do is pick up a paper and read what the bailout is all about!-Typical!!!-and here's a man who's been in the Senate for 30 years?????-Sad that he's the VP pick for the Dems!!!!

    September 17, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  7. Judy

    Because Biden wants more information he is waffling? Isn't it better to have more information when making this type of decision? What I see now is my money being used to bail out company's where the CEO's have made sure that they lined their own pockets first and any help the government gives these company's should NOT include millions of dollars to the CEO's.

    September 17, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  8. joe osborne

    Although I am a Canadian living in Toronto, I am extremely interested in the presidential campaign.

    I caught Cambell Brown's interview with Lynn de Rothschild and
    it seems she was evading Campbell's direct questions and
    politicking instead.

    I can't help wondering if her reason for switching alliances has
    less to do with John McCain and more to do with the fact that she
    would pay more personal and corporate taxes under Obama
    than under McCain.

    kind of makes you wonder!

    love CNN's coverage of the campaign.

    all the best.

    Joe Osborne

    September 17, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  9. Comment

    Everyone please be aware that CNN is in the tank with McCain and will now try to jump on everything Obama and Biden says.

    CNN, your horns are starting to show.

    September 17, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  10. Brian, Pittsburgh

    I don't get it – How is that waffling? Please change your headline, it's misleading.

    September 17, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  11. lol

    hillary clinton obviously would have been a much better vp pick, than biden. biden even said it. he was correct when he said she would make a great president too. the dnc and obama camp, shouldn't have been so blatanly sexist and put her on the ticket. they deserve to lose!

    September 17, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  12. linda from South Dakota

    bail out is a cop-out,,,,, insurance is high enough,,,,, if our government keeps this up,,, its no wonder why we are so far in debt,,,,,,, set limits,,,,,,,,!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 17, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  13. wm

    I don't see any "waffling" here. Tuesday's comments were about all the speculation of a full government bailout, at a point when no one knew what was being discussed or negotiated. Overnight, a deal was made that was not quite a full bailout - it was being reported that it was more like a "bridge loan". Biden, like everyone else, needed to get a full briefing on what was agreed and what the Federal Government had committed to. I'd rather have him doing some thoughtful deliberation over the facts, vs. just taking quick hip shots for TV sound bites. I think he was being approrpriate, and I think the headline was misleading.

    September 17, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  14. M

    Dems are can tell from their whiney comments...(and yes im talking about the people commenting on this article)

    We have to remember, the president can say he/she is going to do this or that, but everything goes through congress. They can block anything, its our senators and congressmen we should really care about, not some suit who sits in a geometrical shaped office

    September 17, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |

    Considering how many WAFFLING AFFECTS MCSILLY AND PALACKING has had over the past couple of days. I am sure that Biden is okay with this one waffling affect.

    September 17, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  16. John

    They were right to say of bail out was a bad move. The Feds pulled the trigger too soon without allowing another way. That is why government overhaul needs to happen in Wahington. The question is, who amongst this 2 will be more competent to do that. I am leaning towards Nader than supporting McCain but my vote will be wasted if I vote for Nader, but will never vote for any socialist ideology. It is bad for economy and was proven by the fall of NOKOR and Russia. Is this what we wanted?

    September 17, 2008 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  17. SN

    wait a minute? what does tax cuts have to do with it?
    nobody wants to talk about it, but there was enormous pressure (about 10 yrs ago) on lending institution to make loans more affordable to low income, and only under pressure lenders reduced requirements and percentage of down payments needed for home loans. And now, when folks who should not have gotten loans to begin with and cannot pay are bringing the whole economy down, they try to blame it on tax cuts. Senator Biden, you make no sense. You had it right originally: every time government messes with natural laws of economy, the trouble will follow.

    September 17, 2008 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  18. TRBoston

    Considering the complete about-face on just about every economic policy exhibited by McCain in the last few days this is no big deal

    September 17, 2008 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  19. TRUTH

    Just goes to show , the truth is that politicians DO NOT run

    economics/economy. Put the blame where it belongs. Hold the companies criminally libel for their mis-deeds.

    September 17, 2008 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  20. DUH

    Some decisions aren't simply BLACK or WHITE.

    September 17, 2008 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  21. She's singing

    Thank g-d for Palin. Obama '08

    September 17, 2008 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  22. Shane


    September 17, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  23. aware

    Obama/Biden equivocate, waffle, obfuscate, prevaricate and politicize a crisis! Anything to get in the news! I know you guys are desperate but please don't use the fear card anymore! 😦

    The blame/victim/savior game is getting old too! Try a little humility and accountability!

    McCain/Palin 08 for this former democrat and Hillary supporter! 🙂

    September 17, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  24. Mary

    I know McCain did this. I think you have this mixed up.

    September 17, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  25. Dakota

    How did Biden waffle CNN?? All he did was ask for more information. This article has more spin than the front page on Fox News.

    September 17, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
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