May 8th, 2012
04:02 PM ET
3 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. mcskadittle

    so Romney wants to start a war with Iran? they may not have a nuclear bomb yet but they do have the materials for a dirty bombs and they sure wouldnt have any qulams about using them

    May 8, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  2. HAha

    They must be dreaming (US Gub'mint) if they think Iran is afraid of them or has been pressured. If anything, all of these damned sanctions have allowed Iran to develop their own goods! They now bottle their own soda, manufacture their own cars. We are helping Iran to become financially independent of the world because we BLOCK them from attaining anything. It will be our mistake in the long run.

    May 8, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  3. obama victim

    is there a bigger indiot in the world than Biden??....I mean...except for barry

    May 8, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  4. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE

    Biden: 'We were the problem'
    =======================
    Yes, Biden. We know all too well YOU and Obama are the problem! The solution is coming in November. Start packing.

    May 8, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  5. Silence DoGood

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

    That's right. It is totally different today!!! Iran has its nuclear program, terrorists want to bomb the US, US citizens are kidnapped, Guantanamo and torture in place, the president declaring Mission Accomplished. Oh wait – that is the SAME.

    What was the Change again?

    May 8, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  6. Flipper Rmoney Failure Ahead

    ""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. "

    And the Rmoney campaign lies again. One more and they've hit the trifecta. Notice also how Chen misstates what Biden said. Biden was referring to the US being the problem when it came to sanctions on Iran, not on anything Iran did to develop weapons. This typical GOBP misquoting and accusing others of saying things they never said or did is getting tiresome and pathetic. The GOBP cult literally has no basis for a campaign except one full of fear, hate, ignorance, lies and propaganda aimed at rich, angry white males, gun fetishists and bigots.

    May 8, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  7. Pander Bear

    Romney is a tool. He has two answers to every question/problem: "Me Too" or "That's not the way". He has all the depth of a mud puddle.

    May 8, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  8. Hayes

    As usual Biden seems to be in his own world. 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. Not only does he say the zaniest things but Obama should seek his ideas on all things and do the opposite and he might actually come out a winner.

    May 8, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  9. Larry L

    Romney needs to avoid debates on foreign policy – especially in regards to President Obama's record in dealing with terrorists. The mastermind of the U.S.S. Cole bombing and a dozen of his buddies were killed this week! The terrorists wet themselves at mention of President Obama's name!

    Romney the "chicken-hawk" wants a war with everybody – but didn't even know that Czechoslovakia hasn't been a country since 1993! He simply takes the opposite side of every issue – a typical Karl Rove political game. Romney would make a perfectly horrible Commander In Chief!

    May 8, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  10. GROVER NORQUIST IS A ENEMY OF THE STATE/ConservaFASCISTS

    "We were neither fully respected by our friends nor feared by our opponents. Today is it starkly, starkly different."
    -----------------------------------------------
    You are absolutely right Joe. We were hated the world over thanks to that C student cowboy President. Recall this phrase Willard? "You're either with us, or you're with the terrorists." Willard likes to go around saying the President is "apologizing" for America. If my country invaded a muslim country based on lies and false pretenses, and is responsible for the loss of 100,000 Iraqis, I think an apology is in order. Our President went to Cairo to mend relations between us and the muslim world because GWB frankly crippled our relationships with everyone. That's besides the point. What foreign policy experiance does Willard have? Having a bunch of GWB advisers does not make me comfortable. And where does Willard come off criticizing Jimmy Carter on foreign policy? Jimmy Carter actually graduated among the top of his class from the Naval Academy while Willard was in France learning how to say "You're Fired" in french.

    May 8, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  11. You heard it worst on CNN

    Didn't Obama promise in 08 to get us out of the W. Bush era policies? Biden sounds like another Cheney here. Iran has done nothing to us, just like Iraq. Isreal has done nothing for us. So why should we be handing them billions?

    May 8, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  12. The REAL Truth...

    @obama victim – "is there a bigger indiot in the world than Biden??....I mean...except for barry"
    ------------------
    Yup.! You !! for regurgitating all that Faux Noise gives you. Do a little FACT checking – on not on the Faux Noise site – and you might learn something about the type of uneducated igno_rant voter the GOBP likes.

    May 8, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  13. Lynda/Minnesota

    And, Mitt Romney's plan? Well, we can always look back at Iraq and Afghanistan to shed some light where Mitt would take us. His advisers are GW advisers after all. Mitt himself has no foreign experience whatsoever and doesn't exactly come across as a stand your ground kind of man. Quite the contrary - he's more of a run and hide type.

    May 8, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  14. AKsteve

    I think Mitt is misunderstanding "We". Biden is saying we "were" the problem. That is past tense and refers to GOP golden child George "W".

    "W" failed to bring any international coalition together. Made us look ridiculous to the rest of the world and discredited the US repuation by lying about WMD's.

    So Biden is right. We "WERE" to blame. Not America... but the GOP golden boy.

    May 8, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  15. Namejkane fl live from teapublican moon base no taxes, no regulation no health care, free gas.

    If republicans were in power dip romnycare could be the moron in chief , thanks teaparty for the Dem landslide that's coming in Nov .

    May 8, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  16. cali girl

    Robmey has NO CLUE what to do with foreign policy. It would be doom.
    no thanks.

    May 8, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  17. BLKMANinAmerica

    OK, what is interesting to me is the Romney's response to everything.............it's never a look at his (Romney) plans, it's always President Obama is wrong..................ok "do nothing repuks" what could you do?

    May 8, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  18. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE

    Did Obama send Joe Biden out to say all this stupid stuff to get last weeks horrendous jobs report off the front pages and nightly news????

    May 8, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  19. sonny chapman

    We= W., Cheney, Rumsfeld & all the other Neo-Cons who love war but skipped Vietnam & made sure that their Grand kids didn't fight either & don't want their taxes to go up to pay for their precious wars.

    May 8, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  20. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Romney would make a perfectly horrible Commander In Chief!"

    Yes he would. The only difference between Romney and Palin is that she could see Russia from her house. Romney is still scratching his head trying to locate USSR on his map.

    May 8, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    4. In fact, said GOP/Teatroll standard operating procedure provides Iran with evidence they need to argue that they actually NEED a nuke because guess what...one country with a nuke looks to be bullying another country that has no nuke. You don't have to agree with that perception...you merely have to accept that millions of other people actually do.
    5. Sanctions will not work. EVER. If you are someone who argues that Iran abuses its people, etc., then you should also be someone who recognizes that a governmental system that abuses its people won't care what happens to them as a result of sanctions. Get consistent or get bent.

    May 8, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  22. 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.

    May 8, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    Of course, that all fits in nicely with what Ike warned us about in terms of the military industrial complex. See, cowboy foreign policy that actually escalates the conflict and makes Iran want the nukes MORE fits right in with the GOP/Teatrolls' desire to create a justification for funnelling more money to people like Haliburton and Xe and other military contractors, etc.

    May 8, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  24. gg

    what no overtime at the military industrial complex –republicans need another war -maybe something bigger and better–look how good the war,s in iraq and afganistan worked out.body bags and bills.but bush,cheney and friends made out OK

    May 8, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    "Yes he would. The only difference between Romney and Palin is that she could see Russia from her house. Romney is still scratching his head trying to locate USSR on his map."

    I dunno. Deputy Doublethink's advisors and surrogates and even DD himself have made public comments that appear to be trying to ressurect the Cold War. Whereas Jabberwocky Barbie saw Russia from her porch and Putin "rearing his head" over the horizon, it might be more accurate to say that Deputy Doublethink sees Russia lurking around every corner.

    May 8, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
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