Biden claims Romney wants war with Iran and Syria
September 2nd, 2012
04:34 PM ET
2 years ago

Biden claims Romney wants war with Iran and Syria

(CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden claimed Sunday that Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee, might engage in war with Syria and Iran if elected president in November.

"He said it was a mistake to end the war in Iraq and bring all of our warriors home," Biden said at a campaign stop in Pennsylvania. "He said it was a mistake to set an end date for our warriors in Afghanistan and bring them home. He implies by the speech that he's ready to go to war in Syria and Iran."

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While Romney supports President Barack Obama's deadline of September 2014 for withdrawing all troops from Afghanistan, he says timelines like Obama's cause allies to question America's commitment to helping countries recover from war. The Iraq withdrawal, completed at the end of last year, drew criticism from Romney, who characterized the move as either inept or driven by political motives.

"I believe that you listen to the commanders on the ground and understand from them what the timetable is to transition entirely to the Iraqi military," Romney said in October.

On Iran, Romney has sought to adopt a tougher tone than Obama on preventing the country from developing nuclear weapons, though in terms of policy Romney has not offered anything markedly different from what Obama currently has in place. He has not, as Biden suggested, said that he would wage outright war with Iran.

Romney acknowledged the similarity between his own viewpoint on Iran and Obama's position in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer in July, saying "our president has said and I have said that it is unacceptable for Iran to become nuclear."

If all else fails, Romney said, "A military option is one which would be available to the president of the United States."

On Syria, Romney has accused Obama and his administration of being similarly weak in dealing with President Bashar al-Assad, and has called for the United States and allies to arm Syrian rebels.

The White House has avoided taking that step, saying the U.S. doesn't know enough about the opposition fighters to offer weapons.

In an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour in July, Romney foreign policy adviser Richard Williamson said the candidate thinks "we should have people working with the opposition, trying to identify the moderate forces and help them unify."

But when Amanpour pressed Williamson on other options to try and weaken al-Assad, he said Romney was more reluctant than members of his own party to take additional steps.

"He won't join his friend John McCain and others who are calling for no-fly zones and safe havens," Williamson said, adding those measures were "not something you can put off the table."

Foreign policy has not been at the forefront of the 2012 presidential campaign as Americans struggle with high unemployment and stagnant wages. The economy and jobs are generally ranked higher in polls of voters' top issues.

With that in mind, Biden stuck mainly to the economy at his Pennsylvania stop, using harsh attack lines to criticize the economic plans offered by his rivals.

"There's nothing new about this plan," Biden said. "It's not only not new, it's not fair and it's not right. It won't grow the economy, it didn't do it before. Folks we seen this movie before and we know how it ends."

Romney's campaign responded by pointing back to the economic policies from Obama and Biden, saying the current jobs situation spoke for itself.

"It's clear that we need to move in a different direction, but Vice President Biden only brought the same failed policies and tired attacks to Pennsylvania that have not turned around our economy or helped the middle class," Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg wrote.


Filed under: Iran • Joe Biden • Syria
soundoff (306 Responses)
  1. Bushy Mustache

    Chaney and Haliburton are itching for a war with Iran. They make money. lots of money.

    September 2, 2012 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  2. WhackyWaco

    Biden is known to tip a few too many. It seems like he is a sot for making this statement.

    September 2, 2012 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  3. RD

    The economy has been growing consistently (e.g., as measured by GDP) for awhile now, albeit slowly, despite headwinds from Europe. Hence, when Romney implies that the economy needs " to move in a different direction," that direction would be downward. Hence, instead, Romney might consider saying that we need to accelerate the economic growth that we've been observing - unless pandering to the ignorant is good strategy.

    September 2, 2012 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  4. Ancient Texan

    Conservatives aren't in favor of wars; but a little of bit of a SPINE by the current regime wouldn't be a bad thing. We've "talked the Iranian situation" for 3 years and they've never even slowed the effort for weapon grade materials.

    September 2, 2012 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  5. Brian

    Lets consider the source.... No one wants another war we are all streatched to thin to defend anything other than the homeland.

    September 2, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  6. Bill in CA.

    Funny, I never heard him say that...only you, Elastic Mouth!!!

    September 2, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  7. TewksburyBob

    Totally irresponsible comments from the guy one chair away from the Presidency. Very scary man.

    September 2, 2012 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  8. RD

    Romney implies that he would let military leaders on the ground effectively make the military decisions, such as troop withdrawal decisions, etc., e.g., when he says that he would "understand from them what the timetable is." Now that's "leading from behind." Delegating efforts to other world powers to overthrow Gaddafi is not; it's sound logic.

    September 2, 2012 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  9. r u nuts

    Liz u must b young did u forget who started veitnam j f k who started cosavol clinton so try another stratigie that one dont work

    September 2, 2012 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  10. RE McCray

    Biden is correct. Republicans ALL want a war somewhere in the world. Republicans believe it makes their rhetoric credible.

    September 2, 2012 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  11. dc

    Biden's middle name must be Bell – He's such a ding-a-ling....

    September 2, 2012 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  12. Matt

    All republicans do is leave messes for the democrats to clean up? Seriouslly, lets take a look at Medicare and Obamacare. These are both democratic messes that could bankrupt the country and are extremely inefficient. The only part of Medicare that is not in the red is the prescription part D plan, which was created and passed by republicans. California can be our second example. They have the 8th largest economy in the world and are 19 billion dollars in debt thanks to the democrats which have run every level of government for the past 30 plus years. California is going to be the new Detroit. Finally, everyone knows that VP Biden is a huge joke. So until Romney says lets go to war with Iran, please keep the foaming at the mouth to a minimum. Romney/Ryan 2012

    September 2, 2012 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  13. dc

    Obama is bad enough..... think about what Biden would be like as President......

    September 2, 2012 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  14. Groucho Marx

    My crystal ball says: If Romney is elected president, the next thing that America will hear is war drums noises, inventing any other republican lie (did you forget the Sadam Hussein weapons of massive destruction?). Well, be prepare because the next lie will be that Iran is ready to launch an intercontinental nuke above New York or L.A. You will se immediately the repugs "breathing patriotism" with american flags in the yards, in the shirt, in the tie, in the car, etc, shouting that we have to finish Iran, Syria, Chavez, etc, etc. Meanwhile, the only ones that will get direct benefits of any war, are thousands of Republican weapons builders.....The same ones that Dubya called in a video, MY BASE.....And when we invaded and destroyed those Countries, repugs are ready to send the bill for re-building such countries. Shame on you, repug pigs!!!!

    September 2, 2012 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  15. RF Burns

    If Biden was any dumber, we would have to water him twice a week.

    September 2, 2012 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  16. Mary

    As soon as i heard Mitt's speech and the topic of iran came up, i immediately thought what Joe Biden is saying. With him pounding about the deficit, jobs and health care, then making that comment on iran, made me think how many more lives need to be lost, civilian loss, and how much money goes into the next war? Do you reallyt want your sons going to yet another war without a rest. The killing, the PTSD without proper care, not seeing their children. How much do people need to give to their country? Don't think there is much left to give. Would the economy recover with another war? It felt Bush-ie! Not to mention Clint being a big supporter of the NRA, with him looking all weird and sketchy. I would say there was a lot of bad actors on the stage that night.

    September 2, 2012 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  17. Champt2top

    Liz, g, and Dennis the Menace, you are all mistaken, no one wants war except the people who are at war with freedom.

    September 2, 2012 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  18. Abel Malcolm

    How can you tell when they're lying? When their lips move. The Repug's WMD lies led to the Iraq war, and Bush never seriously committed to go after Bin Laden, he just wanted Iraqi oil, these guys used Al-Qaeda for partisan political purposes only, the good of our country does not figure into their thinking. I think Romney sees himself as a puppet of the Koch brothers and other wing-nut billionaires who would just as soon see America collapse while they profit from our demise. Let's face it, the Republican party has turned into the party of hate, and the party of lies. They hate women, they hate blacks, they hate hispanics, they hate the elderly, they hate the sick, they hate the poor, and they just plain hate anyone who is not white and rich. All of their lies are the EXACT opposite of the truth. When Lyin Ryan says he wants to save Medicare, he really wants to destroy it. That's how you can decipher their words. Everything is the exact opposite of the truth. God save us from these Devils.

    September 2, 2012 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  19. amlcpamaine

    Take a look at Ken Follett's 'Fall of Giants' and sequels. Though a historical novel, the author – a highly respected historian – provides a very clear view of the reasons for the outbreak of World War 1 - and it's uncanny how similar the political situation is. Both British and American business power interests wanted war because it got them LOTS of manufacturing orders, while at the same time unemployment among the lowest class workers was high to the point of civil unrest. Easy answer: go to war. The outcome: a setback of the world economic health by 10 years or more, and disgustingly, a WASTE of hundreds of thousands of precious young people sent off to war as the "troops" in the service of "the country" ... WHEN will we learn not to listen to these manipulative power goons who think nothing of our precious young and even less of anyone other than themselves?!? Romney's words about Iran are exactly like those of the British aristocracy who engineered the WW1 doughboys and watched while hundreds of thousands of them were blown to bits.

    September 2, 2012 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  20. bigdicktater

    Romney's a draft-dodger?

    September 2, 2012 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  21. Mary

    Have you noticed romney is talking war but won't say anything about his 5 sons gonig to fight for it. He wants to send other peoples sons & daughters to war to show how tough he is.

    Americans ashould ok – lRomney et's go to war but have your 5 sons lead and you will find him chickening out. He won't be that tough & brave. You people still want this guy to lead this country?

    September 2, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  22. J

    This country is going down the toilet and we are powerless to stop it

    September 2, 2012 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  23. Ryan

    Obama didn't lead the raid to capture or kill osama. He sent the innocent children of seal team six. If the mission wasn't a success you would have never heard about it. If you actually think about it Dennis, Bush was the one to engage the process to catch or kill osama, last time I checked he was a republican.

    September 2, 2012 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  24. mhmz

    I Voted Obama the 1st time, I'm planning on it again
    But VP Biden makes me reconsider. I don't want us to declare war on Iran or Syria; I want us to encourage Israel, Egypt, et all to declare war and have us back them in a loose supporting role. This would be best possible outcome.

    September 2, 2012 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  25. Shann

    Just because Romney disagrees with some of Obama's exit strategy, doesn't mean he wants war with Syria and Iran. Biden's logic is poor.

    September 2, 2012 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
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