Biden touts Obama's foreign policy in West Point address
May 26th, 2012
11:38 AM ET
2 years ago

Biden touts Obama's foreign policy in West Point address

(CNN) – In a commencement address that often echoed his campaign pitch, Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday offered graduating cadets at the U.S. Military Academy a full-throated espousal of President Barack Obama's foreign policy.

"President Obama and I came into office determined to end the war in Iraq responsibly, and today our troops are home," Biden said, underscoring a point he and Obama often make on the campaign trail.

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Biden also hailed Obama's strategy in Afghanistan, saying a renewed focus on al Qaeda has hurt the militant Islamist organization.

"In Afghanistan, President Obama laid out a clear strategy," Biden said. "Our commanders re-focused and re-doubled their efforts on disrupting, dismantling and ultimately destroying and defeating al Qaeda. Reversing the Taliban's momentum and training the Afghan security forces to prevent extremists from gaining ground. Since then, we've taken out – you have taken out – more than half of al Qaeda's senior leadership."

Biden also hailed the killing of Osama bin Laden, saying the May 2011 raid sent a message to the world: "If you harm America, we will follow you to the end of the Earth."

Biden's commencement address came as he and Obama face an expected tough fight against former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. Recent polling, including an NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey out Tuesday, shows voters give the president better marks for his handling of foreign affairs than the U.S. economy, consistently the top issue for voters.

At West Point, Biden made brief mention of the economy, saying economic competition with countries like China would continue to help American companies succeed.

"The most critical relationship to get right is that between the United States and China. Every day the affairs of our nations, and the livelihoods of our citizens, become more connected," Biden said. "How we manage this relationship between the world's two largest economies – though we're still almost three times as large as they are – how we do this will help shape the 21st century."

Biden said there was "no doubt America can compete and America will win" in challenges from abroad.

In his address, Biden referred to the incoming second lieutenants as members of the "9/11 generation," saying their decision to enlist reflected a particular dose of courage.

"Every single generation that's preceded you at West Point has faced daunting challenges upon receiving their commission, especially in times of war. But your generation, the 9/11 generation, is more than worthy of the proud legacy you'll inherit today," Biden said.

The vice president continued, "That tragic day need not have shaped your lives, but for so many of you, it did just that. As you and your immediate predecessors came of age, 2,800,000 of you were moved to join our military, knowing full well that you were likely to be deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan."


Filed under: Foreign Policy • Joe Biden • Military
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    I love obama's foreign policy. Did you notice, Iran said it wants to talk with USA. So, gas is going down. I do not surprise if it pumps more gas to USA. Well-done, Obama 12.....very intelligent president in USA history, I know it is pungent chilli -powder for GOP idiots.....true.

    May 26, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  2. sonnie3

    Campaining at West Point???
    Boy joe has problems.
    Where is our National Interes and the debt, and the economy and jobs and current events as they are happening in his guidance for the Military Elite. Obama is a has been as we will all see soon and it is time to move on and not stew about the past, but look to make Hope and Change a reality this coming election as it fell out of bed in the last one.

    May 26, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  3. Myviewis

    Osama Bin Laden was already in the workings for many years before Obama came along. Clinton was already dealing with Bin Laden and numerous men and women were working to get Bin Laden. Seriously, Obama is taking credit for al those people working so hard for so many years, even before he became a Junior Senator? Getting Osama Bin Laden was the result of so many. Democrats really have no shame to take credit where credit is not theirs to take.

    May 26, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  4. Anonymous

    "but look to make Hope and Change a reality this coming election as it fell out of bed in the last one."

    As, yes. The new Hope and Change mantra translated in GOPer speak: taking our country back from the black man.

    May 26, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  5. Myviewis

    Seriously, people are impressed that Obama is willing to talk to Iran just to get us cheap gas????? Iran???? The cruel Iran? People abuser Iran??? No human rights Iran??? Did't Hillary Clinton say to the people of Iran, Syria, China and countries in Africa that they are not alone and we stand with them on Human Rights????? How then can Obama open talks with Iran to get us cheap gas?????

    May 26, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  6. judy

    Joe is a great guy and what better place to talk foreign policy. These young men could be in a war next year at this time if milk toast mitt is elected. The hawks will tell him where to send troops. Obama 2012 forward.

    May 26, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  7. GetReal

    This is not campaigning, sonnie. It is carrying out a long tradition of honoring our troops and their fallen, at Memorial Day weekend. That is where the nation's interest should be, right now.

    May 26, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  8. PJ/TX

    "campaigning at West Point"?? – "not stew about the past"???????????
    ***
    What better place than a commencement speech to future Officers of the military, reminding them of the challenges
    that they will face, and with the direction of the right President, success will be theirs?
    Funny how Republicans don't want to talk about the "past". It reminds all of us of the failures in their decision
    making that brought us two unfunded wars, not to mention the unprecedented invasion into a Country (Iraq) that
    posed no threat to the United States, but caused unwarranted years in Afghanistan because they abandoned
    the mission.
    Keeps them awake at night knowing the damage they have caused, and yet, Romney wants to do it again in
    Iran. No thanks.

    May 26, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  9. mark

    Joe, they campaign everywhere, and Mitt will do his own little dog and pong show eventually as well – its election silly season and neither side is any different.

    May 26, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  10. gg

    republicans are just plan scary

    May 26, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  11. Bootstomper

    Romney thinks west point is part of grosse point Michigan.

    May 26, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  12. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    When God is on your side, who can be against you, so all the GOP devils get behind.

    May 26, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  13. peggy munro

    Mr. Obama, is a Community Organizer like no other. He fully understands the local, regional,national and international communities and is highly effective in his strategic operations in dealing with them in a calm, confident, and understated manner that reflects good governance. People know he understand the undertones and the unspoken words. Regardless of political leaning, if one were to be fair, one would agree that The President excels in International Community Building/Foreign Policy.

    May 26, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |