May 8th, 2012
04:02 PM ET
2 years ago

Biden defends Iran stance: 'We were the problem'

Atlanta (CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden spoke out forcefully against the Iranian government Tuesday at the Rabbinical Assembly Convention meeting, saying actions taken by the Obama White House were preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. But the Romney campaign was quick to disagree.

Military assistance, coupled with financial and oil sanctions passed by the U.S. and the European Union, would cripple the Iranian economy, Biden promised.

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"When we took office, let me remind you, there was virtually no international pressure on Iran. We were the problem," Biden said. "We were diplomatically isolated in the world, in the region, in Europe."

Biden continued, "We were neither fully respected by our friends nor feared by our opponents. Today is it starkly, starkly different."

The other side of the aisle struck back at Biden's comments, with GOP presidential candidate and presumptive nominee Mitt Romney's Policy Director Lanhee Chen calling foul on the placement of blame, and stating the vice president's words were "wrong and completely inappropriate."

"All too often, President Obama and his administration have sought to blame America first, yet Vice President Biden's reckless statement today blaming America for – of all things – the progress of Iran's nuclear weapons program, has reached a new low," Chen wrote. "The problem is not America. It is the ayatollahs who oppress their people, threaten their neighbors, and are pursuing nuclear weapons."

In his Tuesday remarks, Biden referenced his oft-mocked propensity for gaffes, saying, "No one has ever doubted I mean what I say. The problem is sometimes I say what I mean."

Addressing Iran's political status, Biden told the conservative group he guessed sitting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would be "gone" in two years.

Calling internal dissention within the country "real," Biden said he believed Ahmadinejad would be forced out, with Iranian parliament Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei as his replacement. Biden assured the crowd the White House's commitment to Israel was strong and railed against critics who claim otherwise. He called the pursuit of an Israeli state a goal which was in the "best interests" of the United States.

That commitment, the vice president continued, was demonstrated by a recent request made by President Barack Obama to send $3.1 billion in military assistance to Israel. He touted the request as the largest amount ever asked on behalf of the embattled country.

The Rabbinical Assembly, the international body for rabbis in Conservative Judaism, totals more than 1,600 members. Both Republican and Democratic candidates have been vying for support from the Jewish community, a source of donations and votes in key states.

A long-serving member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Biden struck a softer tone with the at-capacity room relating childhood stories about his father's affinity for the Jewish community, saying he often expressed disbelief that anyone could oppose the state of Israel.

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Filed under: Iran • Vice President Biden
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. Another Day in the RW Idiot Mines

    "The White House supposed Foriegn relations expert (Biden – haha) has been wrong about almost every major policy decision dating back to splitting Iraq in three pieces."

    And here this poster tips us off to his rabid and robotic rightwing leanings by revealing a psychological profile of one too lazy to ascertain facts or one too narcissistic to accept the possibility of being very wrong. And very wrong they are. Iraq is ALREADY divided into two parts as a practical matter, since the northern Kurdish area is being run independently from Baghdad in most ways. An "autonomous region" may not be the same as a new country, yet Biden's overall understanding of the ethnic divisions in Iraq show that he knows far more than our sorry little poster.

    May 8, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  2. The REAL Truth...

    Perhaps we could close some of the 160+ US Military bases overseas and bring our boys (and gals) home ??
    Then we could put them to work defending the homeland, rebuilding the aging highways, bridges and sewer system infrastructure. We're going to be paying them anyway, so instead of the stress of constant overseas watch (and family separation) why not get something more productive done ?

    May 8, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    "The White House supposed Foriegn relations expert (Biden – haha) has been wrong about almost every major policy decision dating back to splitting Iraq in three pieces."

    And here this poster tips us off to his rabid and robotic rightwing leanings by revealing a psychological profile of one too lazy to ascertain facts or one too narcissistic to accept the possibility of being very wrong. And very wrong they are. Iraq is ALREADY divided into two parts as a practical matter, since the northern Kurdish area is being run independently from Baghdad in most ways. An "autonomous region" may not be the same as a new country, yet Biden's overall understanding of the ethnic divisions in Iraq show that he knows far more than our sorry little poster.

    May 8, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  4. Larry L

    Romney's campaign is crumbling as he flip-flops like a bass on the dock. Whoever advised him to take credit for the successes of the auto industry really screwed the pooch. He said today he was still thinking about his position on immigration... Could it be that he finally discovered the "self-deportation" idea was simply a joke created by a humorist to show the ridiculous side of the debate! Republicans have done it again... like Sarah Palin but more dishonest and a lot more boring.

    May 8, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  5. Lynda/Minnesota

    "it might be more accurate to say that Deputy Doublethink sees Russia lurking around every corner."

    LOL, Sniffit. To quote Medvedev:

    "Reason never harmed a presidential candidate," Medvedev said. "My other advice is to check their watches from time to time: it is 2012, not the mid-1970s."

    May 8, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  6. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE

    Obama's REAL to-do list:
    ====================
    1. Blame others for his failures
    2. Go campaigning on the tax payers dime
    3. Fund raise on the tax payers dime.
    4. Divide the country
    5. Kill the economy
    6. Expand the government
    7. Take over healthcare in the US
    8. Destroy the oil and coal companies
    9. Tax anybody that works and especially those evil rich people
    10. Give freebies to all his supporters for their votes.
    11. Con stupid young people into voting for him.
    12. Trample the Constitution.
    13. Appoint unaccountable, unconfirmed leftist czars
    14. Submit budgets nobody in his own party will vote for
    15. Pretend his not a leader-from-behind

    (sorry, my fingers are too tired to list them all, hundreds more....)

    May 8, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  7. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE

    Sniffit
    Inconvenient Truths...1. Iran wants a nuke.
    2. The only way to stop Iran from building a nuke is to make them not want to build one.
    3. Dubya/Cheneybot and the GOP/Teatrolls' standard operating procedure chest-thumping shoot-from-the-hip cowboy foreign policy that relies on threats of military action only makes Iran want a nuke MORE.
    ============================================================================================
    More inconvenient truths:
    1. Iran was working on building nukes IN SECRET before anybody was talking about them
    2. Clueless Obama has no idea how to "make them not want to build one" and neither do you.
    3. You are as clueless as Obama.

    May 8, 2012 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  8. Steven Colo

    Mitt, allow me to translate what Biden just said. He was saying that while the Bush administration was invading Iraq for phantom WMDs, Iran was developing real weapons. That the Bush administration had no idea who our enemies truly were. Just like you claiming that we need to start threatening Russia.

    May 8, 2012 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  9. CBR

    If Iraq is divided now we have no one to blame but ourselves. We went in there like gangbusters and were shocked to find they did not greet us with open arms. We are not the saviors of the universe and we cannot continue to wage battles all across the world.

    If the troops come home they should have the opportunity to find good paying jobs and they should be retired from military service. We have continually asked them to make sacrifices. If one member acts out in some way, people want to condemn all of the troops. Not every single person uses good judgment every minute of everyday. There will be problems and we need to learn to deal with those problems

    May 8, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  10. You heard it worst on CNN

    Our government plans on keeping us at war. Both Obama and Romney are "new world order" candidates. people who can't see this are blind. Our country is broke, our military is exausted and tired of being away from their families. The rest of the world sees us empire building, which we are. And still even the democrats want to stand behind this nonsense. There is only ONE candidate who will stop this if elected, RON PAUL!!!

    May 8, 2012 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  11. Indy

    You can say what you want about Biden,but the fact is Joe Biden can walk circles around Romney when it comes to foreign policy.Romneys trip to France for his Church can't even come close to the things Biden knows when it comes to foreign policy, even respectful Republicans know Biden is well informed on foreign policy

    May 8, 2012 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  12. GonzoinHouston

    For those who rant that Obama has failed so miserably in Iran, what would have our country do? Invade? Carpet bomb Tehran? Kill a few million people, just in case? China buys a lot of Iran's oil these days, and they don't care about psycho dictatorships with nukes (see N. Korea) If we really want to make some progress with Iran and the whole middle east, first we need to quit buying Saudi oil! When we are free from OPEC then their oil shipments become a weakness.

    May 8, 2012 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  13. Kevin

    Another "blame Bush" campaign position... And, note to all you clones – Romney 49 Obama 44... (SIX months before the election).... It's stuff like this from Biden and radical moves from House Reps to ban self-defense laws in states that will see Democrats go the way of the dinosaurs....

    May 8, 2012 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  14. Philip

    Joe Biden, Still sharp as a bowling ball and twice as dense. Joe,s motto; look ma no brains.

    May 8, 2012 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  15. Been Here a While

    Osama was right about Biden... God help us...

    May 8, 2012 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  16. mikesvoice

    PLUGS, the real problem is Liberals/Socialist/Progressives/DemocRATs like you and your ilk who falsely believe you are smarter that the rest of us...You open you mouth and put your foot in it time and again and still cannot see what a total fool you are. The other part of the equation is the total lies and misconceptions you spread to your blind supporters that are simply looking for more dole out from the Government because they are too lazy to work!

    May 8, 2012 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  17. paperpushermj

    You can see why Joe Biden has reached the pinnacle of his chosen field.... Politics. He is the King of spin and no matter the subject, he has the ability to turn the smallest innocuous fact or point to support himself, President and party.

    May 8, 2012 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  18. Barry

    Is Biden living in opposite world? How someone second in line to the presidency could be so clueless is downright scary!

    May 8, 2012 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
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