September 17th, 2008
07:29 PM ET
6 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. pa for mccain/palin

    your do nothing democrats
    are living up to it every time they open there mouth this is what happens NOTHING

    September 17, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  2. Susan

    And McCain said the exact thing on GMA this morning. Report both sides CNN if you want to be journalists!

    September 17, 2008 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  3. pa for mccain/palin

    what else is new with Biden
    A FLIP here A FLOP there
    democrats are all mouth cry and moan until they get there way

    September 17, 2008 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  4. NoMccain

    If there was a spot for a Write-in candidate on the ballot next to the Vice President slot, I'll bet that would throw a whole new twist on everything. But of course it would only lose a ton if Hillary supporters who would end up voting for the wrong person, the complete antithesis, in Palin.

    September 17, 2008 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  5. steve

    Hey John,
    We'll cut Biden a break when you and the media cut Palin one. Her coverage has been an absolute disgrace to all that is America and come November, the Democrats will regret it.

    September 17, 2008 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  6. No Way, No How, No George McCain!

    Um McCain did the EXACT SAME THING! Where is that story???

    Bias?

    September 17, 2008 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  7. Annie

    Just like the waffling John McCain did on this very same subject over the same two days?

    September 17, 2008 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  8. Barbara Campbell

    Strange. CNN, you omitted any mention of McCain's waffling on the AIG bail-out.

    September 17, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  9. Diana

    bet it was a democrat the way they were bashing her hope you get caught

    September 17, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  10. Isaac

    He didn't think government should bail them out, but then the government bailed them out anyways. What's done is done. What exactly is Biden supposed to do about it now?

    September 17, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  11. r schier

    Another example of a 2nd grader writing an article that kindergartners attempt to reach up to. He said blah blah yesterday, and blah blah today. Anyone who has publicly commented on this over the last few days is likely guilty of the same thing. Anyone who spoke on this – and there have been several – would necessarily have been speaking likely well before they should have to begin with, considering what it
    would take to build a (hopefully) carefully considered stance. But,
    they can only choose between speaking to soon, and not commenting at all, for which they'll recieve just a different criticism.

    I'd like to see sites such as this devote far more time and energy on the specific issues, and less of the tabloid stuff. Maybe – just maybe – this would be a good influece for all others.....

    September 17, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  12. Eric-29-m-PA

    This guy is clueless! Palin is more qualified than this guy. Instead of attacking McCain on the phrase he used yesterday to describe the economy, Biden should be paying attention to what's going on in the world and how he plans to help Americans.

    September 17, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  13. capitalist

    go ahead joe and barack...put your finger in the air and see which way the political wind is blowing before you make your decision on where you stand on this issue....this is par for the course...and they are supposed to fight terrorists? but those terrorists may not agree with them, they may have to get their opinion before making a decision!!...trifling

    September 17, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  14. MikeH

    CNN, you ignorant Republican hypocritical mouthpiece.

    McCain OPPOSED the AIG bailout yesterday morning!

    Today McCain ENDORSES the AIG bailout!

    I bet you won't post this because it's a truth that flies in the face of your pro-Republican propaganda

    September 17, 2008 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  15. The Lady

    Biden did not waffle he stated he needed all the facts before he could make a comment, he never said he agreeded. I wish the media would stop twisting everything around. Voters need to make their own decisions.

    September 17, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  16. Can you say Watergate??

    1) what happens if members ...plumbers from the Obama camop are implicated??

    2) on AIG .. I don't know what they've done ... the feds loan AIG 85 billion and it is important enough for you to use as a campaign issue but to quote you I don't know what they've done

    Boy you sir are an idiot
    "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."

    September 17, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  17. interesting

    I guess he has been eating those Obama waffles lately. They must taste real good for this DNC ticket.

    PUMA 2008!

    September 17, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  18. Amy

    Why is Biden called out when he said he needs more information, but when McCain completely changes position on regulation/deregulation it's barely reported?

    September 17, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  19. Joseph

    McCain is the one who categorically said he was against it yesterday and then this morning said it was the best possible move.

    Biden simply said he had not been briefed on the details yet.

    Please re-calibrate your "waffle" meter, CNN.

    September 17, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  20. Bill

    Joe Biden is a statesman. He expressed his opinion; then, qualified his decision based on his desire for information. Waffle? No more than President George H. Bush did when he compromised on increasing taxes. We may not like compromise, but this is politics and diplomacy. The sad truth is that AIG is about to be rewarded for taking high risks, expecting high returns, in a subsidary corporation. Which is a shell game to protect the greater corporated investors from the risks of speculation. Imagine a builder, who own two corporations to build houses. The first corporation builds houses "fee for service." The second corporation builds houses before they are sold, speculation. Because the builder has a good reputation, he can borrow money without a problem. He makes outstanding profits for a few years, and pays himself generously in salary and bonuses, keeping the corporation profitable but in debt. Then, the economy goes south, and corporation #2 has houses for sale and no buyers. The demise of corporation #2 has no effect on the profit or loss of corporation #1; however, if the builder can find a limited partner as the government, he can continue to pay himself a salary and bonuses. Anyone want to buy into a limited partnership? Has anyone ever bought into a limited partnership? Has anyone even got a return of their investment in a limited patnership?

    September 17, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  21. Mike

    Biden was right but Bush did it and we will have to make the best of it.

    September 17, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  22. Silky Terrier K

    Joe was telling it straight. he needed more information. That is accurate and honest. I like that. He wants to know more and he will know more. That is so real and so manly I love it. Your headline is misleading. It was an excellent answer and he is an excellent man. Ready for the job and a real man.

    September 17, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  23. Barb

    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.
    So 85 billion is a little bit of money, nice maybe they can lendme some too. Why aren't people bothered by this, I don't have a problem with him needing more information I have a problem with him thinking 85 billion is a little bit of money. Geez.

    September 17, 2008 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  24. Ian M

    Why is it that when Bides waffles you make it a headline and when McCain waffles no one says ANYTHING about it?

    September 17, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  25. Moderate

    Biden: "It looks like they're lending them a little bit of money."

    Right, I suppose to elitists like Obama and Biden, $85 billion is a drop in the bucket. So Obama, how many families' winter heating costs would that cover? How many communities can you organize or campaigns can you run with that? Give me a break. Obama's no brighter than W. McCain's not more of the same, Obama is.

    September 17, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
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