January 2nd, 2008
02:35 PM ET
9 years ago

Biden highlights Clinton Pakistan gaffe

Biden got tough on Clinton over her recent comments on Pakistan.

Biden got tough on Clinton over her recent comments on Pakistan.

(CNN) - Democrat Joe Biden suggested Tuesday that presidential rival Hillary Clinton doesn't adequately understand recent events in Pakistan.

The Delaware senator was responding to news that Clinton suggested in two recent interviews that Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is up for reelection this month.

Musharraf was actually reelected in October, and the upcoming Pakistani elections are parliamentary, not presidential.

"We have a number of candidates who are well-intentioned but don't understand Pakistan," Biden said at a campaign event Tuesday. "One of the leading candidates - God love her."

"There are good people running," continued the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who has made his foreign policy credentials a centerpiece of his long shot presidential bid. "But to say Musharraf is up for election! Musharraf was elected - fairly or unfairly - president six months ago. It's about a parliamentary election!"

Clinton's comments came in an interview with ABC Sunday, in which she said, "[Musharraf] could be the only person on the ballot. I don't think that's a real election."

The New York senator also made similar comments during an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer last week, saying then, ""If President Musharraf wishes to stand for election, then he should abide by the same rules that every other candidate will have to follow."

Both gaffes were first noted by conservative Thomas Houlahan, writing for the Middle East Times.

The Clinton campaign has not yet returned a request for comment on Biden's comments, but said yesterday the New York Democrat was referring to Musharraf's party, not himself in particular.

Republican Mike Huckabee took heat last week for also getting key facts about Pakistan wrong in the aftermath of Benazir Bhutto's death. He first suggested the country remained under martial law (it was lifted a few weeks ago) and later said that Pakistan shares its eastern border with Afghanistan (it shares its western border.)

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Joe Biden
soundoff (493 Responses)
  1. gunter


    Your ignorance of Pakistani politics is understandable and no big deal. Hillary's ignorance, especially with her being the smartest women in the world, as well as all the other phony platitudes being thrown at her, is a big Big deal. Goes to show you how duplicitous she really is. Quit defending her and take off your blinders, there are far more better qualified candidates out there to choose from. Even the Democrats have a couple, however they aren't in the top three.
    You still have time to smarten-up!

    January 2, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  2. yaacovdeyo

    Q: Why are the political leanings of Wolf Blitzer not tagged when those of another journalist Thomas Houlahan are?

    January 2, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  3. Jon, Lantana, FL

    Do we need another Clinton Administration.....hmmm lets see I dont think America can handle no debt and a surplus of money and high employment rates and oh yeah a stable economy, and lets not forget the way Clinton blatantly had good relations and standings in almost every country around the world. America cant handle responsibility to its country like that. We need to make sure that we bring Change, yeah thats it Change. HAHAHA.

    January 2, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  4. M.D.

    JUST WHAT DO YOU PEOPLE EXPECT ! ! ! you act surprised that this greedy idiot does'nt have a clue as to what the big picture really is . and i figure you will be surpised when this country falls 2 yrs after you elect her .....WAKE THE _ _ Ck up AMERICA....

    January 2, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  5. David from Delaware

    I've known Joe Biden since he first ran for the Senate. He's head and shoulders more qualified than any other candidate, Republican or Democrat, to hold the presidency.
    We've lost our credibility, our respect and our standing in regard to foreign policy. Biden warned us about North Korea, Iran, Iraq and Pakistan long before anyone took them seriously. His expertise is what we need today to regain our standing in international affairs. He's worked for Democrat and Republican administrations as an emmisary to foreign leaders in times of crisis countless times. He's got the credentials and the knowlege to work with Congress on any subject you can think of. He's supported cops, firefighters, local governments and countless others in is time in office. Does he put his foot in his mouth once in a while? Sure! That shows he's human and he admits it. We need someone at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue whom we can count on as a leader, not just to tout the party line. If the "mainstream media" hadn't crowned the three front-runners in each party as the leaders in the race, Biden would have been head and shoulders ahead of all of them combined. I hope the Iowa Caucuses propel him into the leadership role we all deserve.

    January 2, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  6. gunter

    Petulant P

    Well said! The Democrats did have someone, but they cast him aside because he wasn't loony enogh for them. His name, oh yea – it's Joe Lieberman.
    He may have been a liberal in most cases, but he always was an HONEST liberal.

    January 2, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  7. Joe

    Pakistan political system is similar to Iraq under Saddam. It has a strong president controlling the military and a weak parliament lead by a prime minister of the majority party. Hillary has met with Bhutto many times in Pakistan and elsewhere. Only a dishonest person or a fool would say that she does not fully understand their system of government.
    Hillary said there should be an international investigation of the assassination. Obama disagreed and when Pakistan also disagreed, Obama said this showed he was right. I do not remember Biden supporting Hillary and I assume he agreed with Obama. We now learn that Pakistan has agreed to a Scotland Yard investigation. So, Hillary was RIGHT. Obama and Biden were WRONG.
    Biden has little chance of winning the nomination. Does he prefer Obama who spoke of the “President” of Canada, which any grade school graduate should know has a “Prime Minister” as its leader, and among other gaffs, caused riots in Pakistan by saying he might invade Pakistan to get at Osama. Biden once said that he agreed that Obama most significant experience was that as a child living in Indonesia. It seems Biden prefers Obama to the possibility of a woman president.

    January 2, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  8. chris

    Still think that everyone should be able to vote?!?!

    We need a test, a quiz, to ensure that morons like this do NOT ever get elected.

    This is a nation on the fringe, we need a real professional leader, not some college republican club leader.... oh yeah, she was last "president" of the young republicans in college. Bwahahahahaha.

    January 2, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  9. Rob

    Hillary doesn't even know how to raise a kid, nevermind how to run a country. But on the other hand, she will have an expert on hand to avoid any legal prosecution of criminal acts comitted by her during her presidency if elected, so I guess it's a trade off...

    January 2, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  10. AJ, IL

    Let's see...4 hours have elasped since this ticker was posted and no response from Hillary's campaign yet....the countdown is on!

    January 2, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  11. Obama Invades Pakistan

    – Obama wants to invade Pakistan.
    – Hillary wants to force new elections on Pakistan.
    – Edwards wants to impose leftist feel-good controls on Pakistan politics.

    All this directed at a nation that is politically unstable, ruled tenuously by the only non-IslamoFascist faction available, and armed to the teeth with nukes and long range missiles.

    Heaven help us from the Democrats – they WILL start WWIII if given the chance.

    January 2, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  12. Al Rose

    Considering that our current President probably wouldn't be able to find Pakistan on a map, I think that Hillary Clinton has absolutely NOTHING to worry about.

    January 2, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  13. Carol L.A.

    Biden is a sore loser. Hillary was just using shorthand . She obviously meant his political party, not him personally. As a close friend of Benazir Bhutto, she understands all the ins and outs of Pakistani politics. Who could think that she didn't know that Musharraf had already been elected president? Not me.

    January 2, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  14. Ben Murphy New York, NY

    What is the gaffe here? Musharraf was selected this year but not legitimately. Yes, this is a parliamentary election and the parliament is supposed to then select the executive. That is why Bhutto was campaigning, right?

    January 2, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  15. Jonnie rae, Boston

    She never admits mistakes, like Bush. She won't admit her vote for the Iraq war was a mistake or her vote for Kyle-Lieberman. I read the papers everyday and I knew that Musahrif had already been re-elected in October. Joe Biden should be Secretary of State. I believe this is the job he truly wants and that he would be excellent at it. Obama is the one to lead us, both nationally and internationally. I am so glad that her "experience" and "we can't afford to make a mistake now" themes have been shot full of holes.

    January 2, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  16. Surrealist, Fort Myers, FL


    We live in America not Pakistan.

    Who cares what a "wannabee" President has to say–it's the person in the Oval Office who speaks for us.

    This just demonstrates how irrlevant Biden and Clinton are–obviously, even though "chicken little" said she "did a bad"....literally nothing, nobody, anything,,,,was impacted by her lack of knowledge or tact.

    Vote John Edwards–honesty is always the best policy–especially in foreign relations.

    January 2, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  17. JohnD

    Biden, who makes his own share of gaffs, is too much of a windbag to be Pres. He would be wasted as VP candidate. He would be a great coice for Sec of State in the Obama Administration.

    January 2, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  18. johnkiel

    Several commentors have indicated that the average "Joe Blow" voter on the street wouldn't understand Pakistan Politics anyway, (In so many words), thereby suggesting Hillary get a pass. The point is, not every "Joe Blow" is running to lead the country as President. So she doesn't deserve a pass any more than she deserves to be President.
    John K. Ormond florida

    January 2, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  19. Karen, NYC

    Happy to see other candidates putting focus on the success of the USA. Hillary is unfit to be President, not because she's a woman, I'm all for a woman President but she must be qualified and her creditability but be intact... Hillary has neither...

    January 2, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  20. TNYC

    In defense of Senator Clinton, everyone makes mistakes.

    The more important question is do we want our future President to be making mistakes like these?

    January 2, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  21. troy in NYC

    Please, Joe, Shut it!

    This is a false controversy since if Musharraf's party looses he will be lucky to have any authority at all in Pakistan.

    His position there will be far more than a lame duck...he may even be toast.

    So, hats off to Hillary and a nod to Joe. They are both right.

    January 2, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  22. bertconvy


    Well the Hillary keeps telling us that she is “Ready to lead — day one.” But where?

    She obviously has to consult a focus group before she says anything. And she is so unsure of herself that she stopped taking questions from Americans or the press till after the hawkeye caukie.

    Be forewarned, a Hillary presidency will be the same. No questions about anything she has not approved in advance. then again with her record for honesty... we are talking a practice in futility anyway... if we expect anything that resembles the truth that is.



    January 2, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  23. Liam

    Hillary has been touting that she is the only one with the experience to be up to speed from day one. So after she gets sworn in as President, will she then wait for Pakistan to hold their Presidential election, that has already been held. She is really starting to fall apart. Just amazing that she actually sounds just as clueless about foreign affairs as Mike Huckabee. Must be something about Arkansas that makes their political leaders so clueless. Both the Clintons and Huckabee come from a place called Hopeless.

    January 2, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  24. Flaming Lib

    Oh how I love you NeoCons. And your short memories. Don't you remember? You are the ones who gave her credit for the Presidency in the '90s. The bumper stickers that read "Don't blame me. I didn't vote for her...or him" Ah yes what a gut buster that was. But there you all were claiming that Hillary was the "real" power of the Clintons. Now your saying she hasNO expierience. And as for this situation. How much do you need to know about a country before you start droppping bombs on it. C'mon NeoCons (which I mean New Con artists when I say that) WWIII is showing signs of slowing down. You need to stay on message and mobilize your base if you wanna get rid of these darkies who speak in dirty tounges. Attack Hillary where she is weakest.....shes to much of a centerist.

    January 2, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  25. Randolph

    Hillary can't comprehend basic foreign policy matters. Obama says we shouldn't have invaded Iraq, but should invade Pakistan since they're too reluctant an ally. Biden is better-qualified, and will lose the Dim nomination for that very reason. Any of the Repugnican contenders (and I don't like Romney!) is a saner choice than Hillarious, Osama Hussein Barak, or, lastly, the Breck girl with his plan for Iraq "coitus interruptus" as a goal unto itself.

    January 2, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
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