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. hurriCAIN PALIN

    democraps...defend your silly candidates

    September 17, 2008 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  2. Eric

    BS your cracking me up saying "stop Palin and Rove from destroying social security" its already in the toilet genius, humor me and explain how they'll do that.

    September 17, 2008 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  3. Dennis

    Biden is supposed to be a Senate leader and he doesn't know ANYTHING about the bailout???? This shows that BOTH Democrats on the ticket are empty suits.

    September 17, 2008 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  4. Pat

    I agree Joe by no means waffled on this issue. He told the truth as he knew it and stated what he didn't know and what he would have to check out due to not having a current report ! How could he be more honest? Pales in comparison to Palin and McSame. Palin's answer to her experience in International Affairs was her feelings of Confidence and Readiness! Huh? Boy that gives me a really good feeling about the possiblilty of her being in charge of the Red Phone and BUTTON! Nightmare!

    September 17, 2008 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  5. Catherine

    Isn't it strange that when Joe Biden states he didn't have enough info he is accused of "waffling".

    Isn't strange that McCain and Palin can state no bailout should take place and then state it was right to do but they are NOT accused of "waffling".

    At least we know Joe Biden is not afraid of telling the TRUTH.

    How about it, McCain and Palin, don't you think it is time you both started to state the TRUTH.

    Truth never hurt anyone. Lying hurts plenty of people. America needs truthfulness. We don't need untruths.

    September 17, 2008 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  6. jo

    Is still on the ticket?

    September 17, 2008 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  7. mrsb

    I would hope he is not an expert on it! Who is? Aren't we all waffling about that? We want whoever is responsible for this banking mess to be accountable, but we don't want more financial institutions to fail. I suspect we will all waffle for a while. Sometimes it is wise to admit you don't have all the answers.

    September 17, 2008 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  8. sevans1969

    What about McCain's collosal waffle, CNN?

    What about McCain's newfound belief in government regulation? Is that not the largest waffle ever?

    Report the news!

    September 17, 2008 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  9. Report it

    coming from a reporter....yeah, waffles....not the right word. Sounds like someone trying to draw parallels to Kerry that don't exist. Work on that reporting. Both sides would be nice.

    September 17, 2008 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  10. Eric

    Waffle Joe. If McCain or Palin did this all the TV stations would have this as their top story. Yet another way the media basis has gotten into this campaign.

    September 17, 2008 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  11. Tooele, Utah.

    After reading so much for the past couple months about the election I've learned that our country is going to be horribly divided at the end. It doesn't matter who wins this election, Democrats or Republicans, this country is going to be split in half. Both parties always talk about how they are going to unify our country, but I think that is too late. People are bickering over the smallest of things, and many of you are making up stuff just to start an argument. I've read many things on CNN blogs that I just see are just plain out lies. I'm tired of you Republicans saying that Obama isn't American, that he shouldn't be allowed to run for president. That is just a plain lie don't just start throwing things out there to get people all riled up. It makes you look like a 6 year old.

    There is too much hate going on in here too. If you all want to be a unified country we need to act more respectfully to each other. Calling someone names for their party affiliation isn't going to help the problem, it is just going to add more to it. This is for both parties. Everyone is just back-and-forth back-and-forth on the attacks. And we need to stop with all these "Well he said something bad about Palin so I'm going to call the Sexist Card and make everything all better." or "Well she just said how Obama is an elitist I'm going to say that is racism." Those kind of comments are not needed in this election. Everyone should be treated equally so if the Republicans are allowed to attack the Democrats than the Democrats should be allowed to attack the Republicans, and vice-versa.

    Now people if you all want to live in a more unified country than you have to stop with all the prejudice you have with the opposite party. Yes they may have some different views from yours, but everyone of those parties brings something that could help this country. So whoever wins this Presidential election I hope everyone will drop all the prejudice and help create a more unified country.

    September 17, 2008 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  12. Ronald

    Yeah interesting that Conservative News Networks has ticker for the VP candidate and non on the Republican candidate for President that did the exact same thing.

    September 17, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  13. Marc PDX

    Spoken like a true politician!

    September 17, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  14. Pennsylvania

    flip flop democrats.....what do they think you wanna hear?

    September 17, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  15. Julie

    The AIG bailout by the Federal Reserve caught everyone in Congress by surprise.

    Tuesday, word of a possible AIG bailout circulates in the financial community, Congress and elsewhere.

    Responsibly Biden voices hesitancy about an $85 billion dollar bailout, which will ultimately fall on taxpayers.

    By Wednesday morning, the Federal Reserve announces it's a done deal.

    Wednesday afternoon, Biden says the truth: he needs more details and no one in Congress has them, even the party leaders had not to date been briefed.

    Today, Thursday, the White House announces a forthcoming meeting between top Congressional leaders, WH economists and representatives of the Federal Reserve to get Congressional leaders better informed on the matter.

    Clearly, Biden did no waffle on this matter.

    Bad title CNN.

    September 17, 2008 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |

    Waffle away Joe we love Sarah she's smarter than
    Hillary and prettier too!!!!!! You can't even see russia from your dumb train. ONLY AN IDIOT TAKES THE TRAIN WHEN HE COULD HAVE A LIMO!!!!!!!

    September 17, 2008 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  17. Rick Treyas

    I am trying desperately to understand what so many of the American people are not getting.
    Just within the last couple of weeks we have ALL found out about Lehman Brothers, 158 years as one of the USA’s largest holdings firm’s now out of business!
    Merrill Lynch, One of the largest investment companies IN THE WORLD and the first company to publish an annual fiscal report on WALL STREET, Bought Out!
    Now today I just heard about the American International Group! Probably the Largest Insurance agency IN THE WORLD in desperate condition and needing tens of billions of dollars to be bailed out or bought out!
    What’s Next America? The Federal Reserve?
    I simply do not understand what is being misunderstood! For the last eight years of Republican rule the Economy world wide has been thrashed, but McCain has told everyone that “the fundamentals of the Economy are strong?” After that McCain say’s “Um What I meant was the fundamentals are the Workers of America?” Either way there is nothing secure or strong about the economy or jobs in the US, when major financial giants start going down like dominos. The Republicans are tossing so much rhetoric around that they are trying to confuse the US public and seem to be succeeding at it to a large degree. Smoke Screening! My God people! The US is in dire shape Economically, not to mention Globally disliked to the point of it being DANGEROUS FOR US ALL! And allot of American’s seem to want more of it? The last eight years have been a disaster because of a Republican Government that has been more concerned with lining their own pockets than securing a healthy economy, and now the very same kind of people are about to be elected again? Have we forgotten about McCain supporting over 90% of George Bushes decisions that have put us ALL in jeopardy? Mr. McCain represents the same Government that currently resides! Where are you going to get more capitalist support than from McCain and Palin? What is it that people are expecting from these two? To turn a Government around that they represent?
    On top of everything else, there are many unhappy country’s with the USA right now. What are right wing supporters wanting? A 3rd World War?

    September 17, 2008 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  18. marty

    UMMMMMM. W A F F L E S!!!!!!!

    September 17, 2008 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  19. Independent NV Voter

    Yes. I also saw that Bush is blocking pows from suing Iraq for I beleive violations of the Geneva Convention. Unfortunately if you remember the hoopla over how Iraq prisoners were treated by our soldiers pretty much opens the US up to similar lawsuits. But if these incidents happened, then everyone should have to face the consequences.

    September 17, 2008 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  20. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Only a 3 decade Democratic Senator could call $85 billion 'a little bit of money'. The man is clueless as is Obama.

    September 17, 2008 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  21. Dylan

    "..The answer isn't to bail out the shareholders or management of AIG."
    It's OBVIOUS that's what Joe Biden meant. Nobody thinks it is good to bill taxpayers for risky investment decisions made by executives.

    Alexander Marquardt I beg to differ with your conclusion. You seem to have taken what Joe said out of context.

    September 17, 2008 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  22. Ha!

    BTW....This "bailout"....or loan is a bad idea. It's basic....Rich Parents...instead of letting their children learn the hard way and punishing them...they're like "oh, okay honey here's 85 billion dollars." So in the end the child learns that "oh! I don't have to be responsible because they'll bail me out any way!"

    Republicans are treating the economy how they would their children....bad parents.

    September 17, 2008 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  23. Matt

    Where's the waffling? It's not inconsistent to say you're against bailouts but pragmatic enough to admit we've been left with no choice. You went too far with the headline this time.

    Keep it real CNN. Don't just pander for link-clicking to up your ad revenue.

    September 17, 2008 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  24. Kristen

    CNN -
    Knock it off! You constantly use these misleading, incendiary headlines that have little to do with the actual topic. Knock it off! You are contributing to the culture of hate and division that is tearing this country apart. You've used this faulty headline trick for both the GOP and the Dems, and it's ridiculous. The man answered a question honestly–other politicians can learn something from Joe Biden. Since when does asking for more info equal waffling?

    September 17, 2008 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  25. Nexialist

    I think it's disgraceful the way the media have gone after Biden and Republicans have gone after Biden. Never before have there been such over the top, angry, vengeful, attacks against a candidate......Oh, that would be Palin.

    September 17, 2008 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
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