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. Bulldog

    This by NO means meets the definition of waffling. This is a very BIASED headline by CNN. I thought you people were supposed to be independent.

    September 17, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  2. Sue in MI

    I think someone should hire Suze Orman as Treasury Secretary! She even said that this bailout had to happen because they are so many people with insurance through AIG. I don't fault Biden's original remark, and sometimes you need to think things through...which is difficult when a reporter needs a sound bite NOW.

    September 17, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  3. Wes

    How is what he said "waffled"? He said he didn't know the terms of the bail out and needed more information. I'd much rather hear that from someone than a knee jerk reactionary one liner. I think Joe's response was the appropriate response.

    September 17, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  4. BK

    Obama didn't have an answer about AIG. He doesn't know if he is for it or against it. He is voting PRESENT for the 130th time. Obama can't make a decision. He is a joke.

    September 17, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  5. Al

    Biden is far, far more consistent and experienced than McCain or Palin (sorry for such a low bar comparison). He reasons, gives good judgment and good thoughts instead of sound bites.

    I'm not even talking about Bush + bed temper and Bush + even more extremism, their lies make me sick.

    Obama/Biden 2008

    September 17, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  6. maynard hopkins wi


    September 17, 2008 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  7. hey-liberals...

    .... Joe who ??

    September 17, 2008 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  8. john

    Well. It stinks. I saw it on the washington post.

    Do not kid yourself. But it is her fault. I'm sure that there are policies, etc. that says an employee can't do this. And this is the reason. I bet a low level employee may be fired.

    Only a few emails are shown, but the person who did this should have all of them. Reading the group's hacking behavior, worse is to come.

    I am just amazed how crocked the AK gov'ment is. And to hear indignation is just weird. It would not have ever happened if she were clean. And it could run another Gov out of office. But not in AK.

    If I was form AK, I would be really embarrased.

    September 17, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  9. Marie Canada

    McCain is one who waffled completely and Biden says he doesn't know the details and needs more information. CNN you are a gutless and biased news station as the GOP have you too scared to do your job properly.. Time to go back to more credible news casts.

    September 17, 2008 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  10. Jack

    Well – At least BIDEN can answer a direct question – and be firm about his answer. OBama responds with "Present" – again – he has to wait for his campaign to come up with the "Politically Correct" response.

    Obama is a FRAUD.

    September 17, 2008 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  11. Charles L. Shaw

    Today is Constitution day, and this voter is not getting fooled again by CNN, or either of the two major political parties who have been in power for the last fifty years of my life.
    What we have is a US federal Government out of control, neck deep in debt, and with no chance of taxing their way out of this debt, where are we now, how many sets of books are we keeping this debt on? I believe we are now approching 60 trillion ( that is Trillion) in debt.
    Neither party has a plan to reduce spending, in fact both have plans to add more regulation, more agencies, commitees, and more spending to fix our debt.
    There is only one party with a plan to reduce spending, reduce debt, balance budgets, and bring freedom and liberty and the rule of Constitutional law back to our great country, his name is Bob Barr,.
    Join with me, it is time we show the type of courage our founding fathers had when they decided to free themselves and their country from England. These men knew if their plans failed they all faced certain death. We need to show that type of courage again, and free ourselves from the two major parties that have lead this country to the brink of ruin.
    Vote this fall for your freedom and Liberty vote Bob Barr vote Libertarian.

    September 17, 2008 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  12. KC

    Thank G*d, someone who will admit they don't have the total answer. Thats what the problem is with McCain/Palin they will never admit they don't have the total answer! Just ask any CEO of a company, if they don't know the answer they will say "I'll get back to you on that". Shoud not the leaders of our country say the same thing?

    September 17, 2008 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  13. amy Noir

    i think bailout of AIG was must other we easily could have 20% Black October of 1987. Yes, we need comprehensive fixes, and now Money Market funds going under this could be worse to come.
    We cannot afford McCain who has no comprehension about ECON 101

    September 17, 2008 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  14. Sam

    CNN you should be ashamed. Biden said he was not in favor of a bailout but, once it occurred, wanted to see what they did before rushing to judgment. We WANT our leaders to think before they act, or react.

    If the Bush Administration had put half a modicum of thought into the way they regulated, AIG wouldn't have needed a bailout.

    September 17, 2008 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  15. karen

    Everyone needs to get a grip. Throughout our history we have had wars, reversals of fortune, unrest. We're still here. And we will continue to be here. Why? Because, no matter what your political afilliations, gender, race, religion–whatever–we're Americans and we always persevere.

    We've gotten soft and spoiled and lived beyond our means. Now, we need to tighten our belts and act like adults. It will turn around. If you're old enough, you know the cycles.

    Relax. Enjoy. Stop being so verbally vicious to each other. Remember the way we were after 9/11? That's what Americans do, we pull together.

    We're just sort of stuck in reality tv 24/7 and forgetting that we still have it so much better than the vast majority of the world. And no, we haven't lost our global standing.We still have it so much better than omost people in the world. People tend to sneer at the richest kids on the block, and we are still the richest kids.

    Take a deep breath and realize you can weather anything.

    And do what I'm going to do–vote none of the above. Peaceful anarchy for all.

    SMILE for gosh sake!

    September 17, 2008 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  16. Erika, KS

    Hello!! CNN, Dare you print anything I type today?
    Joe Biden inserts foot in mouth all of the time. He's famous for it! Maybe next time, Biden will ask questions first before speaking out loud. Biden is nothing more than a career politician, and Obama demonstrates his poor decision making by choosing him.

    September 17, 2008 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  17. Debby

    How many Gaffe's does this make so far. LOL

    September 17, 2008 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  18. kneepads

    bottom line if its walks like a duck ec.etc. its a duck .with all due respact for mcain.its a duck adam and eve.america wake the duck up more of the same duck in the bushes.

    September 17, 2008 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  19. DB

    To "Fix the broken":
    "Jimmy's" point was: "I AM A RASCIST PERSON IN AMERICA. I have trouble admitting that, because racism comes from cowardice and ignorance. So I am going to repeat something I HEARD WAS SAID ON THE INTERNETS- in order to make it sound like I have some a good reason to vote for John McBush".
    THAT was "Jimmy's" point.
    (even if HE didn't understand it...)

    September 17, 2008 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  20. Mack

    Whats new..We didnt want him for President, why VP. Obama has waffeled also,,,where is that blog..We democrats failed when we threw Hillary under the bus..Sarah Palin looked smart tonight...

    September 17, 2008 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  21. Wayne. Ca

    The repubs had a week in the sunlight with the polls as I predicted, mow its time to turn it slowly around.

    Who wants proven liars in the white house, understandable.

    Obama / Biden 08

    September 17, 2008 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  22. NolaTraci

    and now we the people are paying to investigate an Alaska Governor's email woes...WOW...really? where will it stop? is this our government's idea of divine selection or corporate darwinism? anyone for a write-in candidate that can actually lay out a plan for change, unify and LEAD the U.S. away from this horrid High School Musical/American Idol election coverage? ANYONE? ANYONE?

    September 17, 2008 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  23. Lone Star Wolf


    September 17, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  24. Eugene

    You say "waffle", I say "needing a little more facts".

    September 17, 2008 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  25. Tyrone Brown

    Waffles? Who comes up with these tag-lines for CNN? It should of read – Biden seeks more information on AIG bailout. This is the real news. At least he isn't John "the economy is fundamentally strong" McCain, who "waffles" at a drop of hat when it comes to the Bush/Cheney economic policies he has either voted for or ignored over the years. Biden wanted to be debriefed and understand the full implication of the bailout. How refreshing!


    September 17, 2008 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
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