October 22nd, 2008
02:08 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama says Biden given to 'rhetorical flourishes'

Barack Obama said Biden has engaged 'in rhetorical flourishes'.

Barack Obama said Biden has engaged 'in rhetorical flourishes'.

RICHMOND, Virginia (CNN) –- Barack Obama dismissed his running mate’s recent comments Wednesday that if elected, his new presidency would immediately be tested by adversaries looking to “test the mettle of this guy.”

“Joe sometimes engages in rhetorical flourishes. But I think that his core point was that the next administration is going to be tested regardless of who it is,” Obama told reporters after meeting with his national security working group. “The next administration is going to be inheriting a whole host of really big problems and so the president is going to be tested and the question is will the next president meet that test by moving America in a new direction by sending a clear signal to the rest of the world that we are no longer about bluster and unilateralism and ideology but we’re about creating partnerships around the world to solve practical problems.”

Obama added that with the economy in a “free fall” the United States is more vulnerable than ever. He said because of the Bush administration’s policies the next president will have to deal “with two unresolved wars, Bin Laden and Al Qaeda communicating regularly and training folks to potentially attack America.”

The McCain-Palin ticket seized on Senator Joe Biden’s comments made at a west coast fundraiser to highlight what they say is Obama’s inexperience, and have said on the stump Obama would need “on the job training.”

Obama dismissed the notion that his group of national security and foreign policy advisors were scrambled together in Richmond to counter Biden’s remarks and the Republican attacks.

“It would be pretty hard to gather this group in two days. They have pretty busy schedules. We actually had this planned about two weeks ago, two to three weeks. It was prompted by the fact that I was focused fairly single mindedly on the financial crisis and I asked my staff to convene this group because I think it’s very important at a time when we are so focused on the economy, and rightly so, that we not lose sight of that fact that we remain threatened and there are a whole host of international challenges that we’re going to have to deal with,” he said flanked by fifteen members of that group, including former Sen. Sam Nunn and several high ranking retired military officers.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Joe Biden
soundoff (225 Responses)
  1. JO

    For all you whack jobs that dont know Russia wasnt the ones to blame in that and believing these idiot Republicans is dangerous, let me guess you didnt get to see the news of what happened till 10 at night huh? so you missed the news stations telling you who invaded who apparently, well it wasnt Russia dumbies. Cant keep your stock up to date if your economy is failing wake up der....and no substance my god have you people been in space?!?! what substance does McCain or better yet, ditz Palin have?? wake up i cant believe you people are so sick in the head. Franks got it right, when did being a pilot ever ever ever ever qualify you in any way for anything other then another pilot job?? wth is going on here?!?!? Dads a viet vet and he cant even take all this seriously because of how little we have learned, its just the same ole thing all over again. So whos the smart ones? the blind followers of failed policy and economy? or the few that have spoken up all along? hmmm derrrrrrr lets just walk ourselves off a cliff shall we?? you first =)

    October 22, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  2. Beatriz Perez-Sanchez

    Biden is given to 'rhetorical flourishes'. If Palin misspeaks however, she commits a 'gaffe', a 'blunder' or worse according to much of the media. Why is Biden not subjected to the same degree of scrutiny as Palin? The transparent double standard in the media's treatment of the two vice-presidential candidates is inexcusable.

    October 22, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |





    October 22, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  4. Greg F

    i thought barry went to hawaii...he's back already?

    October 22, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  5. Don

    It takes CNN over 48 hours to get this story up and posted...but not BEFORE Obama has a chance to spin it. CNN = Polictical Hacks for the Democratic Party! (pretty quick breaking the story of Palin's answer to a 3rd Grader though!!)

    October 22, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  6. C-Dawg

    The Biden gaffe machine, the gift that keeps on giving.

    I heard somebody that said they like Obama because of his fresh, new ideas. None of his ideas are really new, FDR and LBJ operated in a similar fashion.

    The Aztecs could be right with this 2012 end of the world scenario, that's when, if elected, Obama's first term would be up.

    The guy can give one hell of a speech though.

    October 22, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  7. Eight Is Truly Enough

    I tell you I cannot wait to vote these 2 men into office here in California. They make me feel good about them as men, husbands, fathers, sons, politicians, fellow Americans, leaders and statesmen. Barack and Joe are ordinary men who are here to do extraordinary work for the greater good of man/womankind. That is the task that God gives each of us at birth and asks us to find our potential in. You don't have to be president or vice president to do great things but you do have to be present, open, ready, clear and focused. Obama/Biden 08

    October 22, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  8. Joel Parkes

    Obama has all the potential to be one of the greatest presidents ever.

    October 22, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  9. Anita of georgia

    I'll trust Obama anyday to deal with any crisis in our country. Whether it's the economy or Military. We don't need anymore of that cowboy mentality. Shoot First and Ask Questions Later. We need someone that think before they act. Someone that has the right temperament to handle problems that come up. Someone that's going to bring our country together, not divide it. That person is Barack Obama. Vote for Obama, and please vote early.

    October 22, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  10. Greg F

    guess he felt this was important...hope his grandmother is doing well

    October 22, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  11. Va4Obama

    he doesn't have to "explain" Joe's comments. we know what Joe meant and he ended his comments by saying that those who test Obama will find that he has steel in his spine; as in, he will stand up to them. i got it Joe. we get it.

    and...Obama has had a national security team of advisors... he spoke of them before..

    October 22, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  12. Brooke in Connecticut

    And what a double standard for CNN and others have set for the male VP candidate while creating a caricature of Palin in their hate-filled and endless vilification of her. So Obama can dismiss it as "rhetorical flourishes?!" And Biden can go unscathed after alluding to FDR's TV comments during the Depression (when he was not even President and there was no TV) Palin gets skewered time and time again and now today for explaining to a group of very young school children that the Vice President has some sway in the senate in simple terms that they could understand. Meanwhile the media whitewashes or ignores Biden's genuine gaffes to the point that the malicious and distorted coverage of Palin reeks of of misogyny.

    October 22, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  13. David, Silver Spring, MD

    Welcome to all the McCainiacs who have decided to visit cnn.com today.

    Please stop for a moment and think about what it means that we will soon have a president who knows words like, "rhetorical flourishes." The last President you gave us would have said, "fancy thought-makin' "

    Obama 08. Finally an adult in charge.

    October 22, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |

    Aint Sarah's kids suppose to be in school or they are on a national field trip sponsored by the tax payers?

    October 22, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  15. Ken in Dallas

    McCain seized on Biden's comment to express the presumption that he would somehow be exempt from challenges, were he to become president. McCain is doddering and lacks vision or self-control.

    John McCain is a dolt. He is not the right man to lead this nation.

    October 22, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  16. Dan

    Again with the double standards. Republican malapropisms receive media ridicule, while Democratic "rehtorical flourishes" are spun around to "what he really meant was..."

    Who is going to keep the politicians honest if we can't count on the media to do it?

    October 22, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  17. Joe mclemore

    It's amazing that Biden needs Obama and msnbc to explain his comments. You can spin his words but he said what he said. Also Gov. Palin is correct on Vp role. There is nothing in constitution prohibiting the VP from getting envolved in Senate nor does it say that the position is ceremonial with only breaking a tie vote. People need to study for themselves instead of listening to others.

    October 22, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  18. Glenda

    I listen to both McCain/Palin who are parrots of their advisors and speech writers and wonder how anyone of a half intelligent nature could think these two are able to handle this country. I listen to Obama and find myself looking back to JFK and seeing the same calm intelligence. VOTE EARLY AND FOR OBAMA

    October 22, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  19. Team America

    What in the world are "rhetorical flourishes?" I thought Biden's comment said there would be an international crisis to test the inexperienced new President. And I'm pretty sure he was talking about Obama. At least his running mate can see how inexperienced Obama is.

    October 22, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  20. Baby Love

    You rethiglicans say what you will, Barack is the right man for the job and you just can't stand it can you?

    Obama/Biden – decent, honest, integrity, leadership

    McCain/Palin – lie,lie,lie,lie

    McCain is the Titanic and Palin is the iceberg!

    Go Obama!

    Former Republican (White woman) for Obama


    October 22, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  21. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    At least he,Joe Biden does know what being the Vice President means unlike the moose killer . Palin got tripped up by a 3rd grader and still knows nothing except what is in the script says! She has to be the most clueless choice for VP EVER.

    October 22, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  22. Sarah Mae

    Obama is a questionable candidate and Angus McDugan you two are so stuck on backward McCain that you can't see the air for the fog. If McCain had a clue and was so experience, tell me why he ran a nasty campaign and always come out with plans, packages and speech that came from Obama.

    The only good thing that he didn't steal, yes I said steal was the foolish idea to stop campaigning. Obama didn't buy into what he was selling and I am glad. McCain is not a smart person and between Sarah and John a Kindergardener has more knowlege than they do as to how to run this country.

    You two needs to careful choice the person who will help you in a crisis and not whine. Obama Obama and I mean Obama.

    October 22, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  23. Joe

    Oh please – unfortunately your clarification directly contradicts what he said. He even specifically referenced your age! Hello! And I love how the media is hyping an answer to a question from a 3rd grade as a pseudo gaffe to try and shift attention for this enormous BLUNDER!!!

    October 22, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  24. Bruce

    McCain talkls about how he was tested well he had a tough time in a POW camp but I do not see how that made him a better choice. Obama has one big advantage he studied the US Constitution. We might get a president that respects the constitution. Not like Bush and McCain that want to do things their way and take the freedoms that have been fought for by really brave people over the long history of the USA.

    Obama wants to unify America. Something that scares the republicans. with out division they have no way to gain power.

    October 22, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  25. Darrell

    All Biden did is tell the truth.No matter who the next President is they will be tested and better to have a thoughtful steady President then having someone like McCain. McCain ran around like a chiken with its head cut off with the financial crisis and Obama looked Presidential.All we hear from MCCain is what someone else said or what some else might do.He never talks about the issues and how to solve them with straight talk answers.Palin just does not know what to say at any given time period.

    October 22, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
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