October 20th, 2007
08:20 AM ET
15 years ago

Biden hits Obama with experience card

Biden took a jab at Obama Friday night while speaking with reporters.

DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said Friday that whoever moves in to the White House in 2009 will be left with so many problems that he or she will be left "with no margin for error."

The senator from Delaware appeared to single out one Democratic opponent–Illinois Sen. Barack Obama–in particular.

"One of the candidates says experience doesn't matter [and to] look at Cheney and Rumsfeld and the rest," Biden said. "Well I say look at the president– he had no experience."

Obama has often said in stump speeches that Vice President Dick Cheney and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had two of the longest resumes in Washington and it "hasn't worked out so well."

Biden added that the next chief executive will have to end the war in Iraq immediately, keep Iran from erupting into a war, and re-establish the good will and reputation of the United States.

"It's not going to be able to be something that they're going to have time to contemplate," Biden said. "They better pretty well know exactly what they want to do before they take the office."

Biden made the comments to reporters after speaking at the Polk County Democrats Auction and Fall Dinner in Des Moines. New York Sen. Hillary Clinton and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson also spoke to the group.

-CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Iowa • Joe Biden • Race to '08
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Dan (Baltimore, MD)

    Every time we hear one senator running for president hitting another senator running for president on experience, we should find it really amusing. Senators are part of the legislative branch. That experience is saying "yea" or "nay" on a bill, a bunch of uninformed talk at committee meetings, and occasionally writing bills (though this is not required and the dems running for president are lacking here). Experience for president comes from being the head of an executive office where you manage people, lead efforts, and in general execute laws. Biden, Dodd, Clinton, Kucinich, Gravel, Obama, and Edwards (not to mention Fred Thompson, Hunter, Tancredo, and Paul) are all equal in executive experience – zero. The only one who's a legislator now with executive experience is McCain who was an officer in the military.

    But thanks for the laugh, Senator, all the same.

    October 20, 2007 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  2. Ron, TX

    Obama has released detailed plans on pulling out of Iraq. He's released detailed plans on his health care policy. He's released -very- detailed plans for his energy policy. If you think there's something wrong with his policy ideas, attack them. Baselessly attacking his "experience" doesn't prove anything. Critique his judgment if you think he will make wrong decisions. So far, he's done everything to prove he will make the -right- moves.

    He got Iraq 100% right- go read his 2002 speech. He knew the Iran=terrorism bill would do nothing diplomatically unlike Hillary and some other democrats, and he did not support it. After that bill was passed, Iran turned around and declared the CIA terrorists. That was obviously an ineffective bill. Now, Bush is drumming the Iran/WWIII war drum, which is perhaps the MOST stupid idea since Iraq, and Obama is the only candidate who is a vocal opponent of this war drum mentality that Bush, Hillary, and lots of other politicians are following. You CANNOT -scare- Iran into negotiating. You CAN scare Iran into fighting. Obama's judgment has been uncompromised. If you think he will make the wrong choices, you need to explain how and what YOU will do different.

    October 20, 2007 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  3. Dave, Cheverly, MD

    Biden, You wear your emotions on your sleeve unable to contain them. Right now the emotions you are feeling are ENVY and JELOUSY. There is nothing wrong with Obama's ability to lead on day one in the White House. You are upset because it won't be you. Instead of making these fact less baseless statements, you should be figuring out what helpful support roll you will play in the next Presidency. Obama says EXPERIENCE + CHANGE! At lease get it right when you attack. P.S. I have a lot of respect for Biden. More so then many of the other candidates. No need for him to loose respect over this election.

    October 20, 2007 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  4. Dave, Evergreen CO

    Biden is running to be Hillary's VP.

    October 20, 2007 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  5. Melvin (Chapel Hill, NC)

    Ron from Texas hit the nail on the head. Judgment is just as important (if not more so) as any "experience" other candidates can claim. The next president MUST have the judgment to lead.

    Hillary claims to have learned from her past mistakes...I cannot tell.

    In the largest foreign policy decision of the past few decades (IRAQ), ask yourself who got it right and who got it wrong.

    I have a problem with Hillary on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard issue as well.

    First, she claims her vote on Iran is for diplomacy but obviously it has been counterproductive on multiple fronts (i.e diplomacy, getting OUT of Iraq, etc).

    Hillary Clinton says she will not negotiate with terrorists.

    Hillary Clinton names an influential group in Iran terrorists, claiming its a vote for diplomacy.

    It seems that she has now voted against herself with a single vote.

    ...Just some thoughts...

    October 20, 2007 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  6. Daniel, Stafford County, Virginia

    There is only one man who can bring back honor, integrity, and virginal virtues back to the White House and save our country from the evils of Godless liberalism, the homosexuals, and Islam, and his name is George Felix Allen.

    His senate race against Jim "I Hate Women and the Traitor" Webb, in which Webb stole the election is far from finished. George Allen can always demand a recount since Webb used illegal tactics to win and only won by a margin of 2000 or so votes, thus Virginia law mandates a recount, in which I am sure George Allen will do.

    If George Allen can reclaim his senate seat, it won't be late for him to raise millions of dollars and jump into the race at the last minute, riding a wave of euphoria and exctasy when we conservatives now have a TRUE CONSERVATIVE in the race to rally behind. Allen will beat all the other RINOS becaues America wants honor and dignity back in the White House!


    October 20, 2007 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  7. a voter in CT

    All presidents have armies of advisors and experts at their fingertips with much more combined experience than anyone could amass in a single lifetime.

    What matters is judgement and what one does with all of those experts. Obama has always been right on with these things. He stood up against the invasion before it happened, even though it was not a popular thing to do at the time.

    He has detailed plans for all of the major issues. He doesn't take money from lobbyists or PAC's so he has no responsibility to them, only the people.

    Obama also says what needs to be said. He's not the type of guy that will say anything just to be elected. For example, he'll tell autoworkers that fuel effiency needs to go up.

    Biden needs to learn to be a little more civil of tongue.

    October 20, 2007 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  8. George

    Posted By Melvin (Chapel Hill, NC) : October 20, 2007 9:55 am

    Way to tackle the Obama experience question, slam Hillary.
    We have to believe that the election will turn on that sense of the senate resolution, look at the damage, "national asparagus week", has done to the nation.

    October 20, 2007 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  9. Terry, El Paso, TX

    Sen. Biden seems to be a good man with a good head on his shoulders, and he would probably make a good president. Unfortunately he will not have the chance.

    Experience in Washington for the last 20 or 30 years does not recommend a person for the presidency. The culture of Washington since 1976 has not been a healthy one, and lengthy exposure to it cannot make one a better person. If that experience had been during the 1930s and 1940s, it would be a different matter. The men and women who led the nation through the Depression and WWII were often extraordinary.

    Abraham Lincoln, from Obama's home state, had only served one term in Congress and a couple (as I recall) in the Illinois Legislature, yet he was a highly capable President. Harry Truman's resume was somewhat checkered, having failed in business and gone bankrupt (yet he eventually paid 100% of his debtors), yet he proved to be the indispensible man to the post WWII world. Richard Nixon had an impressive resume; he served in the House, in the Senate, and as Vice-President before his election to the Presidency.

    I would like to see someone from outside of politics run for the presidency. Perhaps a University President, a corporate CEO, a lawyer in private practice, or a highly experienced governmental administrator could be found who would bring fresh vision to that job.

    The thing that bothers me most is that I immediately suspect anyone who actually wants to be president of hidden personality disorders. What reasonable person would submit himself or herself to the criticism, hatred, and opposition that come with the desk?

    October 20, 2007 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  10. Eugene Sanders Columbia, SC

    Well Joe with all your experience, you sitll voted to authorize the war. It seems like that was a no margin for error situation and what good did your experience do for you? I personally think that anyone who voted for the war, has little room to criticize someone who was against it from the start. Biden is simply trying to be Hillary's VP.

    Look at how much experience JFK had. We need a new voice and a new vision in Washington, DC. Why do we want to put more war supporters in the White House? I think Biden also called Obama naive because he wants to open dialogue around the world. Talking sounds better than war.

    October 20, 2007 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  11. Joe Vanderbosch, Appleton, WI

    It seems that people commenting on this post seem to forget that Biden is probably the most respected man in the Senate when it comes Foreign Relations. This man has the ONLY PLAN to get us out of Iraq, while not leaving complete chaos behind. He is the only candidate to get Senators from both sides of the aisle to join together on a way forward in Iraq.
    Obama of course was a no show. Way to show your Leadership. Is this the "Change" he has been talking about? Obama, please go to the Senate for awhile and learn what it means to be a Leader for this nation.

    Biden is the ONLY Candidate that can fix our situation

    October 20, 2007 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  12. Jeff from Jersey

    Gee Daniel,a recount?You sure you sren't in Florida?

    Our's is a government of hypocrisy,none worse than "conservatives".They spend trillions on war,trillions blowing up countries and the global killing of millions of innocent men, women and children, trillions on rebuilding what they blew up, trillions on caring for the wounded, the sick and the orphans they have created and trillions on hospitals and schools in these countries and won't spend a nickel helping americans.
    They cry socialism until they're blue in the face, let our schools and hospitals deteriorate until they are less than third world, warehouse our seniors like cattle, underpay our teachers and nurses, let our homeless freeze and our hungry starve, then call themselves Christian and claim they and their politics have the blessng of God!

    As to Obama and his plans,he's the one that just wants to go in and start bombing Pakistan, a country with nuclear weapons and even the meagerest facade of democracy ready to crumble, move onto Iran with the threat of war even more strongly than the idiots already in the whitehouse and has shown himself so out of touch with minorities he's losing all of their support.

    The first case is the "experience" of the conservatives.The second is the "inexperience" of Obama. NEITHER is right for the welfare of this country or this planet.

    Clinton is much more astute and savvy than people want to give her credit for. She will not be intimidated by the job, Congress and world leaders. She has more intelligence in her pinky than all of the other candidate's from both parties combined have in their collective bodies and overblown egos.

    Just a note to the republicans:You'd better find something besides 9/11 to run on or you won't even get out of the box when the race is over.

    October 20, 2007 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  13. Mike st pete fl

    I watched Joe Biden last saturday speak in New Hampshire, he spent most of his time on the subject of education in this country. I wonder if he is aware the state of New Hampshire does not support public education with public funds. It's ranked forty nineth in the country, when it comes to public entitlements, they must be a proud bunch, the rest of the country must be paying for them. Yet they get to be the first state to vote in the primary for president, they should be last or not be allowed to vote.

    October 20, 2007 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  14. Christian, Tampa FL

    I wouldn't exactly say that the current President had no experience. He was a governor and a Bush family member with all those Republican connections.

    He just had the wrong kind of judgment and the wrong agenda. If Barack Obama is capable of creating a powerful, skilled, and intelligent political structure, and if he's able to create the proper change necessary to improve relations with the rest of the world and sentiments between Washington and the public, then he will be successful, whether or not he's been in Washington for decades.

    At the same time, Biden is definitely a very capable man himself.

    October 20, 2007 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  15. al, San Francisco, CA

    Obama says Obama doesnt matter, as he is like JFK or Lincoln. But, he is neither.

    Assume that he is white, not half- black, politicians of his abilities and experiences are a dime a dozen.

    He should not be trusted to be the next president of the US. Learn the mistakes from George Bush.

    He might not get into Havard if he was not black.

    October 20, 2007 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  16. John Adkisson, Sacramento, California

    I have respected Joe Biden since he was in his 20's. He has thrown that away by pandering to the Clinton campaign with this false issue. If anyone knows that time spent in Washington does not equate to judgment within a margin of error– it should be Biden - he of hundreds of gaffes, including supporting this war. I can forgive many things Joe, but not transparently fake arguments.

    It is truly amazing how Washington works on the insider's mind - justifying the reliance on lobbyists for money and research, skewing the insider's view of what is important, and even turning a young man with vision into a hack.

    October 20, 2007 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  17. Colin742


    Having voted against one motion which could have allowed Bush to launch military action against IRAN, she was involved in writing another motion that just designated the Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization but that did not authorise war. Designating the Revolutionary guard was a neccessary legal step to block or seize funds. She did not "vote against herself" as you claim. Sometimes it is difficult for an amateur to see the difference between similar situations. One needs to recognize that she is much smarter than the average person. She rarely makes mistakes. Unfortunatly in 2002 she had not learned that the Bush Knowingly had false information in intelligence reports.

    October 20, 2007 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  18. phillip,falls church,VA

    Ya Biden! You had experience too copying British Member of parliament document that you brought to the white house,or what is experience to you? Stealing Other people's stuff?

    Go Obama!

    October 20, 2007 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  19. Dave, Cheverly, MD

    If Biden is such a good leader and has so much good experience, why didn't he LEAD us in the direction of staying OUT of Iraq and NOT voting for giving this President the authorization to go in Iraq in the first place?? The same goes for Hillary. One can't claim all this good experience on one hand. But then made one of the dumbest and most incorrect vote/decision in our time on the other hand. On day one Biden the US will need a leader that can make the correct vote/decision the first time. One cannot bring back lives just because you think you can change your minds and position afterwards. People are dead because of that vote. Who will die because of the next wrong gutless politically motivated votes you cast? Both Biden and Hillary knew the vote on Iraq was wrong but did it for Political cover.

    October 20, 2007 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  20. Peter,New heaven,ct

    I see jealousy in this guys eyes. He slams Obama every turn on his ways. He was the first to say he is the only clean black male in the mainstream. Remember guys? Americans seem to have short memory. In contrary to his first comment was Obama who opposed war from the start. Now who is more right? The people who go to vote pay attention to politics so, little Joe, we have already done our homework before you come up with your statements!

    GO Obama and your lovely wife Michelle!

    October 20, 2007 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  21. Peter,New heaven,ct

    I meant to say in contrary is Obama who opposed the war from the start. Now who is more right?

    October 20, 2007 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  22. xtina - chicago IL

    Senators sit around holding "hearings" and spend a lot of time voting. They also have time to play politics. The best President is a Governor or Mayor because they have made decisions and have dealt w/ financial matters. Obama has only re-arranged the Illinois taxpayers' money, usually asking for more of it along the way. Obama doesn't have any executive experience.

    October 20, 2007 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  23. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    The irrational exuberance over the Clinton and Obama campaigns among Dems to the left elevates the "politics of hope" for "my turn" candidates without any gravitas or significant experience over the demographic reality, well known to their pollsters, that they are unelectable in the general.

    October 20, 2007 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  24. Bill in Denver

    To the Obama supporters:

    Obama is NOT qualified. Be warned, this next comment will offend nearly everyone (because we're trained to be offended by the truth): Obama, like Hillary, is a novelty act. He is an "acceptable black man" like Hillary is an acceptable woman... in a man's suit of course. The fact that you guys attack a quality senator like Joe Biden the way you do proves that Democrats (and liberals) are still the same as before: eating their own and destroying their shared cause. All he did was compare Obama to Bush. So? I thought we democrats wanted someone smart and experienced to be the next president.

    And so "good judgment" is now Obama's trademark? How many crucial Senate votes has he missed recently? The vote on Iran was a big one. I guess he feels it's best to save his judgment for his presidency. We wouldn't want him to use it all at once and show us he's a man of quality judgment.

    October 20, 2007 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  25. Jay

    Actually from looking at his resume, Biden would make a really good Secretary of State (or at least Defense). Someone with his experience and outlook would best serve our nation by staying in his field of expertise..rather than in the oval office which requires more of a well-rounded individual. Not saying Biden isnt well-rounded, just that given the current situation, we would be best served by him in another capacity (maybe as VP under someone such as Ron Paul or Mitt?).

    October 20, 2007 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
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