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. Proud Vet

    I served 7 years on active duty, and I used look up to McCain. I still think he did a good job serving his country but he has the wrong idea about what we need for the future. No matter what crisis we face in the future, Obama is my choice. He is better on economic issues, leadership and even on national security. Our national strength lies in our unity like Colin Powell said. Obama will help to bring us together and make us stronger.

    October 22, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |

    Obama is questionable candidate–I rather have Obama/Biden any day over senile McCain and 2 sentence Palin. These 2 or not the candidates to keep us safe and thats a fact. If you deny this, you're not being truthful

    October 22, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  3. observer

    I hope Obama will win this election as situation in this world is getting out of control. He is a man of wisdom who can make a breakthrough.

    I don't think that Palin with low IQ who talk nonsense can lead even though she claimed to have years of executive experience which may not be relevant. Look, she got the role of VP wrong!!! How can she be a president if situation permits esp. MC Cain is of such age. No one can predict what will happen. Based on probability, high chance of not able to carry out duty as compared to younger man (I am not saying that Obama is definitely healthier but by using reasonable statistical figure).

    October 22, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  4. Rob

    Biden sent to Siberia by Obama? Doubtful. So far only a Republican president has sent people off to the middle of nowhere without trial...apparently to learn Spanish, not Russian. I love Joe, but it might not be too horrible an idea to send him off to get a nice tan for a couple of weeks, although I wouldn't suggest Guantanamo. Maybe someplace in Florida?

    October 22, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  5. Joe

    John McBush is an IDIOT
    We don't need another IDIOT in the white house

    October 22, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  6. Im proud

    Don't get mad because America can have a president they are finally proud of. Give in, be happy, be optimistic..

    since you wnat to quote early americans..
    Ab Lincoln had the exact amount of experience as Obama before he was president.

    October 22, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  7. therealist

    'Rhetorical flourishes' is not what America needs from the only source of foriegn policy on the Obama team..

    October 22, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  8. paul

    Remember when the VP ? was asked in the debate a few weeks ago? Palin's answer was reviewed as more correct and accurate than Biden's response. Rewind the tape and see for yourself.

    October 22, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  9. Jeff

    What a joke! The most biased coverage out there. If Palin simplifes an answer about the VP's role it gets blasted. Biden says one stupid thing after another and it is just Joe being Joe. By the way, didn't Biden say the executive branch's duties are in Article 1 of the constitution during the VP debate? Yes he did! Where was the coverage CNN for this?

    October 22, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  10. Obama Fan

    Oh that Joe...He's just a good ol'boy. You gotta love him.

    October 22, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  11. Shawn, Lincoln, NE

    Ok, Maynard. Its their words, not there words. But more importantly, I don't think you have been listening to them very much lately. They both speak well on the issues and of their opponents' character. I wish I could hear more positive statements about the opposition by the GOP and then they can state where they disagree. It is polite and genuine to disagree but please don't attack the other candidate's character.

    October 22, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  12. crystal mitchell

    Obama will be one of the greatest Presidents. He understands what need sto happen, and I have full confidence in him to do the right thing.Confidence that he will make the right decisions, and be able to answer th 3:00 am call.Obama has surround himself with the best and the brightest. The Democratic team is full of talent, this country will have no worries, once they are in place.

    Thank you Lord!

    October 22, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  13. demwit

    Obummer will have terrorists Obombingus for sure...

    October 22, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  14. Catholic-mom-4-OBAMA

    @ "Obama is a questionable candidate" : typical comment from the hate-lies-fear-and-divide Republicans!

    I am SO grateful that the American people, are REJECTING the politics of lies-hate-fear-and-division spewed by the Republicans! We've had enough!

    Now we are hearing that last crazed scare tactics by the Repulbicans:

    Communism......... socialism!



    October 22, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |

    Any new President may be tested. McNasty has never been in charge as President either. He is NOT TESTED. If the way they reponded to the financial crisis is any indication–I'll take the collected-contolled-and thoughtful manner of Obama's, over the erratic-panic-indecisive-emotional McCain. McCain is so trigger happy and takes action before thinking. He'll just bomb-bomb-bomb-somebody. Liberman won't be there to correct him when he has the wrong enemy-Palin will-Good luck with that.

    October 22, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  16. jm for sc

    Even if Obama does face a crisis, consider who he would have by his side versus who McCain has by his as running mates. Even if Obama has no one to turn to except his wife, consider the knowledge of the two potential first ladies. An honest answer will settle this entire inflated mess made of an comment Biden made in good faith. Obama will have Biden, the Clinton's and the entire democratic party as well as Hagel and others from the republican party to stand by him, while McCain's camp would still be divided regardless of how they all are pretending they are happy about Palin.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 22, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  17. Ohio for OBAMA

    YES WECAN.....................YES WE CAN......................YES WE CAN......................YES WE CAN.......................YES WE CAN.....................YES WE CAN WHOOOO HOOOOOO!!!!!!! JUST GOT DONE VOTING FOR OBAMA WHOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! YES WE CAN.....................YES WE CAN........................YES WE CAN..................YES WE CAN WHOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

    October 22, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |

    You republican just hate that you can't put someone in the white house with Morals, Integrity, Judgement, the understanding that we are one world. Trying to tear Biden and Obama down just like your leader McCain/Palin. Before you cast your judgement on Obama and Biden try tell your VP nominee what a VP's job is, its obvious she doesn't know. She is so Dick C., So Dick C!!!!

    October 22, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  19. Rob Johnson

    The fact that the Republicans are trying to make so much out of this statement just shows how truly desperate they are. If you hear the full quote, Biden says that any country who DOES test Obama will discover that he has "steel in his spine" and is up to the job.

    If McCain is elected, he will go looking for trouble, he won't have to wait to be "tested." We will be at war with Iran within 6 months, whether they do anything to instigate it or not.

    I find that much scarier than the thought of Obama, Mr. Cool and Collected, handling some international crisis with intelligence and diplomacy.

    October 22, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  20. Reese from NC

    That is why we like Biden. He is honest almost to a fault. Clearly at times context is not McCain's or the media's strong suit. What he said made complete sense. The new president will be tested and both Obama and McCain are more than capable of handling it. The major difference is McCain will shoot first and ask questions later and Obama will weigh the pros and cons of the situation and make a sensible decision quickly. The only reason it is an issue is we are in the middle of a presidential campaign and the parties are trying their best to discredit each other.

    October 22, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  21. paul

    Citing Wikpedia:
    As designated by the Constitution of the United States, the vice president also serves as the President of the Senate, and may break tie votes in that chamber.[2]

    October 22, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  22. RealityKing

    I wonder which cities Al Queda is targeting on Joe's suggestions?? Guess we'll find out soon enough if Obama is elected...

    October 22, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  23. Taran, San Diego, CA

    It's about time that the leader of the free world was actually SMART, thoughtful, intelligent.

    It's about time that the leader of the free world was a pragmatist and not an idealogue.

    We've tried it the other way for the past 8-years and look at what it's gotten us.

    The eight years prior, we had a smart person in the White House (love him or hate him, we can all acknowledge that Clinton was and is very smart). Those 8-years saw both a U.S. and world prosperity.

    We've tried it the dumb way. Can we please go back to the smart way?

    October 22, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  24. David

    I am a registered independent and was still waffling but now these comments by Biden have really turned me off on them. I don't care how they try to smooth this over now. What kind of engineered event was he talking about. An economic event, a manufactured terror event, bombing iran (and leading to a war with Russia)? If an economic event will they pull the martial law option out as Bush has on the table??

    October 22, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  25. Indiana Joe

    BIDEN might make mistakes every so oftenbut HE IS EXPERIENCED AND READY, but SARAH PALIN makes one almost EVERY DAY but ALSO she is INEXPERIENCED, UNQUALIFIED and UNETHICAL (troopergate, anti animal rights, outfits cost RNC $150K, Alaska paysfor kids' travel expenses, etc).

    Two different VP candidates: ONE IS READY: BIDEN; the other one will never be: PALIN.

    October 22, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
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