October 26th, 2008
05:02 PM ET
6 years ago

Biden to anchor: 'Is that a real question?'

Sen. Biden had an interview with Barbara West Thursday.
Sen. Biden had an interview with Barbara West Thursday.

(CNN)— An interview Sen. Joe Biden did with an Orlando television station is making headlines Sunday, after the reporter asked if Sen. Barack Obama's now famous conversation with 'Joe the plumber' about 'spreading the wealth' made the Democratic nominee seem like he was adopting Marxist principles.

"You may recognize this famous quote," WFTV Anchor Barbara West told Biden on Thursday. "From each according to his abilities to each according to his needs, that's from Karl Marx. How is Senator Obama not being a Marxist if he intends to spread the wealth around?"

Biden laughed himself out of the unusually tough interview asking in response, "are you joking? Is this a joke?"

"No," responds West.

"Is that a real question?" Biden continues.

"That's a question." West said.

With a chuckle, Biden firmly tells West, "He is not spreading the wealth around. He's talking about giving the middle class an opportunity to get back the tax breaks they used to have."

"We think middle class tax payers should get a break, that's what we think," Biden added. "That's a ridiculous comparison with all due respect."

Obama has responded numerous times since his October 12 meeting with Joe Wurzelbacher in Toledo, Ohio that the conversation was taken out of context.

Since the final presidential debate in Hempstead, New York, 'Joe the plumber' references have been a common line of attack from Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin - telling voters - Obama plans to tax the American people.

WFTV's news director told Conde Nast Portfolio.com that West had not been inappropriately tough, citing an even tougher interview she did with John McCain.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Joe Biden
soundoff (119 Responses)
  1. Jason

    this reporter, along with all the other people who are crying socialism and marxism should go read up on the subject before making silly comments. this wasn't a tough question, it was a ridiculous question. did we live in a socialist or communist society from 1992 to 2000? i dont think so. all obama is trying to do is get our economy back to what it was before bush took office. too bad so many idiots don't realize that or even want to? silly republicans

    October 26, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  2. Danny

    That was a stupid question. GOP has nothing to run on. There serious things to talk about and that's all a journalist could ask.
    That was good Joe

    October 26, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  3. Nawder

    Yes, silly questions. Bidens response to each and every one was appropriate and on message.

    October 26, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  4. R, Ohoi

    Interesting October 26th, 2008 5:57 pm ET

    Finally some fair and balanced journalism. There is a God….

    PUMA 2008!
    ____________________

    I'm interested in knowing your views at this point. I didn't think that PUMA's still existed. Fair and balanced journalism is certainly in the eyes of the beholder, it certainly depends upon the news network you choose, to be honest. Do your own research and stop depending on the news networks to do your job. And for heaven sakes, stop crying over spilled milk already; it's gotten a bit old at this point.

    October 26, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  5. Lisa

    Joe done such a great job with that reporter. I was proud. He owned her. She thought she could trip him up with tough questions but he answered everyone without hesitation. I didn't hear one "I'll have to get back to you on that." Quite refreshing after listening to sarah palin dance around questions.

    October 26, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  6. Arthur James

    CNN should offer this woman a job. And then she should give lessons to the rest of their "journalists."

    If it weren't for CNN being in Obama's pocket, we'd be looking at a whole different race. CNN – change your name to DNN.

    If you want both sides of an isue or candidate, check out FOX News. They used to be leaning to the right, but they cleaned up their act after so much criticism.

    CNN – it's your turn to do the same, although it's too late for this race.

    October 26, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  7. JD

    Very good question and horrible answer. The Dems. need to be careful of what they say, the election is theirs to lose. Considering Americans particularly ignorant views of Karl Marx, such phrases as "spreading the wealth" should have been avoided.

    If you ask me, the Democratic party has been consistently moving further and further toward a more socialist platform. They continue to guise it under economic troubles. When Obama becomes president, the democrats will have to choose to follow his more radical socialism, Clintons more moderate liberal views or they will have to break apart.

    October 26, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  8. Jeanine G

    some questions border on the insane...this is one.

    Great answer Joe!

    October 26, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  9. a sympathetic Canadian

    by the way: what is wrong with spreading wealth? Shouldn't everyone be happy, if everybody would be wealthy? And yes, the stupid question got the right answer from Biden

    October 26, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  10. republicans hate america

    Jay-
    Wow republican's have destroyed this country??? What an ignorant statement, you must be a democrat. George Bush has protected this country- Have we had another 911 since he's been on watch??? The answer is no. But you go ahead and vote for and inexperienced Barack Obama and you look at how HE WILL DESTROY the United States. And then when it happens I will be more than happy to tell you I told you so.
    Democrats=Ignorance

    no but 9/11 was on Bush's watch he let it happen democrats did not

    October 26, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  11. Seriously?

    There's a difference between a tough question and a stupid question. If I were Biden, I would have genuinely believe it was a joke too. Journalists need to have people teach them that, contrary to what their kindergarten teachers told them, there IS such a thing as a stupid question. I hope Saturday Night Live or the Daily show skewers this flunky of a news reporter.

    October 26, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  12. kobs

    Palin's wadrobe as an example is effective demand. Thus purchasing power.

    October 26, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  13. Texas Teacher

    McCain just said that he is going to strengthen our military AND lower our Taxes!

    Indeed, yes, just like Bush.... he will run this country on borrowed money from China!

    But, God forbid, he should not raise taxes on the richest 5% of the wealthiest of this nation.... which happens to be his wife and himself as well as most of his cronies!

    Forgive me if I can hear is desperation and Bush policies along with a lot of lies and fear mongering!

    October 26, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  14. R. Squibbs

    Go Joe!

    He showed up that rightwing shill with her McCain campaign talking-points questions for the buffoon she is!

    It's hard rightwingers like this fool that have driven moderates and independents to vote for Obama-Biden.

    So keep those "tough" questions coming!

    Ha!

    October 26, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  15. lovable liberal

    Here's how it works: If wingnuts really don't like you, they call you a socialist. If they dislike you even more, they call you a Marxist. If they really hate you, they call you a communist.

    But they really have no idea what the words mean. They just use them to show increasing anger. It's a different kind of curse words.

    October 26, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  16. Dave in CT

    Dumb question, good answer.

    October 26, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  17. S Boatman

    I Hear Fox News Is Hiring A Bunch Of Blow Hards That Can Churn Out Taking Points On Que! She Would Fit Right In!

    October 26, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  18. Pat

    Hmmm. if Obama-Biden ticket is representing marxism/communism because of this one quotation of Marx then the McCain-Palin are the party that represents the ever-evolving definition of fascism. Their ideologies are very very close to fascism by their chants for nationalism, liberals are bad for congress, whitehouse and the people, less gov't or no gov't at all...etc. Has West even read Marx????

    October 26, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  19. barry

    November the 4th is coming...forget all this fluff...
    GET OUT AND VOTE!

    October 26, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  20. rosangel..change that im waiting for

    i just watch the interview...Biden is not angry...he was straight and right on the point..this is what this people deserve by trying to put the candidates on the spot with lies....put the candidates on the spot with the truth.....do that to Palin with trooper gate and the bridge to nowhere...lety Biden be Biden and stop the lies.

    October 26, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  21. Kyle

    Describing that interview as "tough" is ridiculous. The anchorwoman's blundering attempts at "gotcha" questions were pathetic and deserving of a little humor from the Senator.

    October 26, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  22. Indpendent for Obama

    Well he did answer it right. Done. I would've laughed too.

    October 26, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  23. jill

    McCain once called the Bush tax cuts immoral, so was he being a Marxist/Socialist then? It's so sad when the media just parrots back the GOP talking points. They ask about Ayers but not about Gordon Liddy. They ask about Socialism but never question McCain about his previous support of the very things he now says are socialistic. His argument is that the economy is struggling so that's why we should make the Bush tax cuts permanent. So when the economy is doing well, Socialism is okay? This is why he's losing and losing big.

    October 26, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  24. KentD

    Biden handled that interview in excellent form. Although the questions were ridiculous, he answered every one.

    West is a hack.

    October 26, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  25. AOA

    Am I missing something here? McCain campaign has become that desparate?Joe answered the questions posed with clear answers...where is the story here again?

    October 26, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
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