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. Matt K., NY

    Bill in Denver, you fall into the same exact pattern as everyone else. Like Ron from Texas pointed out, if you're going to critique him, critique his judgment. Point out what he's done -wrong- or what plans he has that are bad. Casting out silly statements like "novelty act" with nothing to back it up is bad for politics. Ad hoc political arguments go nowhere. Address the issues. He may have missed the vote because Reid is campaigning for Clinton, and they put the Iran vote on hold, and then called a last minute vote before Barack could get back to Washington, but it passed by a large majority. He said from the start that he opposes the Iran-terrorism bill. Certain ignorant senators still voted in favor, with their only justification "diplomacy" and Iran turned around and declared the CIA terrorists. Great diplomatic work eh

    October 20, 2007 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  2. Noity Atlanta GA

    It is not Experience we are looking for Biden, it is Quality Experience.
    Walter Mondale has Experience.

    October 20, 2007 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  3. Chris Chicago, IL

    Where is your experience in being black Mr. Bodden?


    October 20, 2007 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  4. Davis, NJ

    I like Biden because i think he is a stand up guy but clearly he showed a lack of good judgement in voting for the IRAQ war. How does he justify that? What experience did he draw on while voting to authorize this war? ...did you know that he did not even read the national intelligence estimates (you can factcheck this)?
    Anybody who understands Washington would know that all Presidents have hoards of advisors on all issues. At the end of the day, the President has to make a judgement call – a decision – that's whats crucial. I would not mind Biden being a Sec. of State.
    If his experience (which he has many years of) cannot guide him to make the right decisionsl for America; then whats the point?
    I'd take a President with good judgement anyday over a President who boasts years of experience working the wheels in Washington.

    October 20, 2007 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  5. Melvin (Chapel Hill, NC)


    You're right! Hillary is brilliant!

    I guess that is why Hillary didn't bother to read the intelligence report on Iraq BEFORE she voted yes! It makes perfect sense. She is smarter than the average person...

    I guess that's why she is mandating everyone purchase health insurance then saying she'll allow Congress to determine how to enforcement HER plan. She is smart enough to know that if SHE tries to set the enforcement, she'll screw it up... atleast the failure to reform our system will be with Congress... That's smart.

    I guess that's why when she says "I" she really means "the United States". She is smart enough to say what she means but not mean what she says...

    I guess that's why she cackles and avoids answering answers at debates. She knows she can't say everything she is thinking so she'll say anything (which is usually a bunch of empty words) to get a few claps...

    I guess she'll get us out of Iraq by linking our military presence to Iran. (I don't think the course in Iraq is sustainable militarily, financially, or other wise.) War World III !!! ?

    I guess that's why she didn't divorce Bill Clinton in the 90s... obviously she had other plans for Mr. Clinton.

    SIDE NOTE: Hillary is smart! Hey, that's what she learned in the 90s when she failed miserably on health care reform and caused the Democrats to lose both houses of Congress.

    Hillary, in my opinion, is going to continue the same games of George Bush Jr – only with a "D" beside her name. How successful has that approach been?

    But anyway, I suppose amateurs will be flocking to the polls in a few months to vote for an "inexperienced" presidential candidate.

    OBAMA 08

    p.s. I actually respect Hillary, Biden, Richardson, and Edwards. I simply disagree with their approaches.

    October 20, 2007 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  6. Brian, San Diego, CA

    Here's an interesting article that contradicts your claim, Davis.

    "Candidate and then-Sen. John Edwards 'read and was briefed on the intelligence' while sitting on the Senate Intelligence Committee, a spokesman said. Edwards has called his vote for the 2002 resolution a mistake. Another Democratic candidate, Sen. Joseph Biden, said he read the report."

    Like many of you, I stupidly placed too much faith in Powell's integrity prior to the war. A lot of senators like Biden did the same after seeing those false so-called intelligence reports.

    But the ultimate decision to go to war was George Bush's, the Decider. The vote was just a hyped up formality to make the Congress seem relevant in the process. That is the work of executive arrogance, incompetence and inexperience. If Bush were smarter and possessed an ounce of integrity, he could have struck down the foolish advice of his advisers.

    Look at the latest vote regarding Iran. Hillary voted for it because she didn't learn the first time that Bush makes bad decisions and Obama didn't even show up. No credibility, no spine. Biden voted NO. So far he's the only Democratic candidate other than Dodd who has firmly taken action to reign in the abusive power of Bush.

    October 20, 2007 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  7. RuthieM

    How in the world can anyone 'pretty well know exactly what they want to do before they take office'. That's a stupid statement knowing that no one will know what will be happening that very day they take office. So the person who needs to take office then is one who has judgment, insight and courage, like Obama. Sure Biden has his 'experiences' behind him but I don't like the fact that a White House/American resolution dividing Iraq into three factions or something has passed when it is the Iraqis alone who should be determining their own government, their own lives, their own fate. Biden and the rest of these 'decision makers' are no different than the (other white) men who took the land from the Indians, who took Slaves, who took California from the Spaniards, who took took took, and take take take. I think Biden has 'an attitude' problem.

    October 20, 2007 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  8. Melvin (Chapel Hill, NC)

    Question for Colin742 on Senator Clinton:

    legal step to block/seize funds = vote for diplomacy?

    I often feel as though Clinton is vague when talking about this particular issue. Please excuse me if the answer/connection is obvious to you. But please, explain that connection to me.



    I know that no plan is perfect. But I think its important to point out the risk in creating 3 Iraqi states, drawn with religious lines. Especially with the northern part (Kurdish territory) being threaten by Turkey. But how ironic is claiming that if the US leaves, a broader war will emerge. With the recent Turkey developments, I do not know how much longer this premise will hold.

    Additionally, who are we to tell a sovereign government how to run their country? How would you like it if Canada, for example, using the premise that Bush is a failure as President said that the U.S. should dissolve into parts: some going to Mexico, some to Canada, and some areas would form its own countries.

    I cannot even say that Biden's plan is good in theory anymore. It may be political smart here in the US for saying "I have the only plan for Iraq" when realities in Iraq are saying something different.

    Why not just talk with Iraq's neighbors and give each them apart of Iraq?

    We may be occupying Iraq but we are not in charge of making their decisions. Perhaps the plan is suppose to encourage Iraq to move in that direction? So his plan does is encourage it?

    ...just some thoughts...

    October 20, 2007 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |

    Hillary is a brillant woman and so is her husband. Unlike Bush's daughters, Chelsea has remained removed from the news media. The woman has our vote in 08 as well as many other well informed Americans.

    October 20, 2007 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  10. John Adkisson, Sacramento, California,

    To Bill in Denver:

    Before making a racially offensive comment it is unwise and unhelpful to preface it by saying that you "know" it will be offensive. As critical as I am of Biden's remark, your support of him with this remark is not something he would endorse. And saying we are trained to be offended by truth (the truth being a frivolous and unnecessary racial slur) sounds to me like the slogan of opponents of civil rights - not of Senator Biden.

    We have a field of excellent Democratic candidates. Using "experience" as a stand-in for racial insensitivity will not wash. That was not Biden's intent - he was merely campaigning for a place in the good graces of Senator Clinton - hence his cheap shot.

    Obama has devoted his entire adult life to progressive government and politics. The so-called "experience gap" is a trumped up way to attack a person who truly inspires and can change the American formula in the world. He threatens the status quo and is the only barrier to Clinton's nomination. Cynicism and opportunism are unfortunate, but ugly, deliberate racial observations like yours are deeply saddening.

    Maybe you want to think a little bit about why people are offended by racism before uttering such nonsence.

    October 20, 2007 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  11. Dave, Cheverly, MD

    To Brian, San Diego, CA:

    If you watched Cspan you would see how things played out with that amendment. Reid did pull the amendment off the floor the day Obama was present saying that it was on indefinite hold. 24 hours later Reid put the amendment on the floor for the vote, he clearly told staff to inform senators who were not present. An hour later the vote happen. || There is NO WAY that Obama could get back to the D.C. from NH in an hour even on a private jet. || Obama was already gone after the senate session the day before. Obama released his position as soon as he was informed on that a vote would happen.

    Ranting on about Obama dodging this vote has gotten old and we all are tied of reading it. You claim to be so intelligent in all your other facts. Funny you should get this one wrong.

    October 20, 2007 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  12. George Washington Mt Vernon VA

    Mr. Biden, question please. What exactly are you calling Experience. Can you define that in terms a Repulican can understand ?

    October 20, 2007 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  13. SB

    I will trust Obama's judgement to lead this country any day of the week.

    October 20, 2007 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  14. Joseph

    Joseph Biden is right. Barak Obama needs to beef up his resume before he asks reasonable people to elect him President of the United States. Bush had little experience, although he was Governor of Texas; Bush didn't have to prove himself as much as say Giuliani had to. When your family is powerful, you get certain advantages from that; everyone knows Bush was privileged. Rudy Giuliani, on the other hand, has the experience to be President. Rudy has proved it over and over again, and thus has demontrated executive achievement over a long period of time. Barak Obama just needs to get more on his resume; perhaps a stint as Vice President or the Governor of his home state would be the next natural step for him. If he does a good job, then maybe reasonable people will begin to think he is qualified to be President of the United States of America.

    October 20, 2007 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  15. Josephus, Liberty City, Florida

    The only thing I see Hillary Clinton winning is a cell in jail for corruption.

    October 20, 2007 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  16. Zach Kentucky

    Obama is the best guy for the job. I may be a republican but i have got to say that i am rooting for ombama for 08! Honstley i believe there is not better guy for the job. This guy who made this comment must be a stupid crack or something.

    October 20, 2007 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  17. Davis, NJ

    I stand corrected. So Biden did read the national intelligence estimates... AND STILL GOT IT ALL WRONG WITH HIS VOTE TO AUTHORIZE THIS WAR IN IRAQ!!!
    Even more pathetic, the likes of Clinton and Dodd DID NOT READ the intelligence estimates for reasons that are frankly beyond me – AND THEY WANT TO BE PRESIDENT.
    In fact, i don't know what is worse – reading the intelligence estimates in 2002 and still voting to authorize the war or completely neglecting to as much as read the intelligence estimates and voting to send other people's kids into WAR !!
    Sen. Clinton DOES NOT have the judgement that this country needs right now.

    October 20, 2007 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  18. Farrell

    This talk about experience is nothing but a tactic to put fear once again in the American people as the Bush campaign did and look where that"experiment" got us, think about it. America needs a rebirth of an intelligent commander. We've suffered enough being led by incompetent GWB and we don't need another experiment.

    October 20, 2007 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  19. Liberal Chic

    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.

    Posted By a voter in CT : October 20, 2007 10:16 am

    Yeah, that's a toughy telling auto workers, "Yes, your management, not you, is screwing up and has to figure out how to make more fuel efficient cars so that they can sell more cars and you can keep your unbelieveable pay and benefits."

    Did he man up and say the US auto workers will have to take a cut in benefits to be more competitive with foreign competitors? No, I didn't think so.

    And all you Obama fans, how can you have good judgement, if you haven't had the requisite experience on which to form it?

    And to those who are tired of hearing how Obama missed Senate votes, we are also tired of hearing how Obama got the war right in 2003 before he was even in the US senate.

    October 21, 2007 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  20. Bill in Denver

    Call me racist if you like. That's the liberal way of things. But none of you can seriously believe that Obama or Hillary are getting so much attention because of their great credentials. If that's racist, then I'm a racist. And yes you are a novelty act when you ALLOW the MEDIA to boost your campaign with talk of your race or gender as a determining factor.

    Am I a Biden supporter? Does it matter? CNN and a few people in Iowa run the presidential elections in this country so I'll probably never get the chance to pick who I really want anyway. I know one thing, though, and that is Obama will not win because (1) he's unqualified (which is why I don't support him) and (2) because of his race. That second factor is unfair but true. And I know some of you will attack me for pointing out THAT truth. And I will preemptively respond with this question: do you think all of the racists in this country–not just in the south–just simply disappeared or changed their mindset in a period of 30 years? No, out there, it's hidden, but it goes into the voting booth. Whether you accept it or not, I don't care. It's the truth.

    There's one last thing you should know. In this little exchange we're having, there are no winners or gotchas. So stop acting like children and republicans.

    October 21, 2007 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  21. Obama Mama, OK

    to bill in denver. stupid racial comments like yours will only incite more anger and inspiration in many people to vote for obama. racist!

    October 21, 2007 02:47 am at 2:47 am |
  22. CheryliynILLnois

    I think Biden is right on BO..I dont like Gospel preacher's at Americans,his faith and the enviorment gone loopy do,and join a Church 3 months,before you anounced..and your hope message is Hillary and the Iraq vote,thats all he talk about,he criss crosses to republicans.His mentor is a republican.Sen, Durbin,he should of ran republican..and related to cheney.And he has this big hype about judgement well he missed allott of senate votes quite alott..and the people O f Illinois is noticing it.even though your out on the trail for president you should be doing the job as you were elected to work for the People. Hillary gets there biden gets there,dodd gets there Brich,gets there...its gone to his head. Oh i dont have to vote wants i become president I can do aything i want.

    October 21, 2007 03:09 am at 3:09 am |
  23. Terry, El Paso, TX

    After 9-11, 90% of us (me too) supported Bush. Hindsight is apparently amnesia also.

    October 21, 2007 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  24. katie

    There are a lot of Barrack Obama and Ron Paul online supporters that are cluttering these blogs. I wonder if they'll turn out to vote unlike Dean's massive online following.

    These negative attacks on Biden are happening because the frontrunners are sensing he's moving up in support. The race is evolving because people are leaning toward substance over personality.

    October 21, 2007 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  25. Bill in Denver

    Well "Obama Mama", you probably didn't read my entire posts and I thank you for calling me a racist simply because of an obvious observation. Would you prefer that I say nothing or even lie? Let's lie: All of the bigots fled away to never never land and those who stayed reformed their ways and we all lived happily ever after. Come on! Believe me, if that were the case, Al Sharpton wouldn't be so busy these days.

    That aside, give me THREE reasons why I should support Obama. And don't give me any of that morning-in-America, new start, change, or better world rhetoric.

    Thank you.

    October 21, 2007 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
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