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. rizwan186

    I am failed to understand why these candidates are so interested in Pakistan. There are so many countries in the world, muslim and non muslim, developed and under developed, rich and poor. Then why Pakistan? Is it because Pakistan is a poor, under developed, muslim NUCLEAR power????

    January 2, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  2. Thomas

    Unbelievable! I'm just a normal guy who reads the newspaper, surfs the internet and follows politics on a casual basis. However, as Pakistan is so critical to our nation's safety and the defeat of Islamic fascism, even I knew that the elections were for Parliament? I wonder if the pending First Lady knew the difference when he was President? Heaven help us if the former strong Democratic Party of JFK and FDR which has now become the lunatic left wing "Surrender" at all costs party gets elected. Invest in bomb shelter companies again...

    January 2, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  3. hillary

    Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Hillary E. Coyote – Super Genius

    January 2, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  4. Rich

    So I guess this is some of the "experience" we keep hearing she is going to bring to the White House...

    January 2, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  5. waterprise2

    Musharraf "is" on the ballot; nor his party "is" on the ballot...I guess it depends on what your definition of "is" is!

    January 2, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  6. dk

    I am not surprised at the gaps in understanding the political scenario in pakistan by these two leaders. They just reflect majority of Americans who hardly know any thing beyond the 50 states.

    January 2, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  7. Wilberto Jimenez, Monmot, MD

    Joe who ? Whatshisname Edwards ?

    You people are dreaming if you think the Democratic candidate in November will be named anything other than "Clinton". I don't like her, and I sure as hell don't want to vote for her, but I'm a realist.

    January 2, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  8. trent

    wow, this is pathetic... isn't it?

    it just goes to show how serious the situation is. we truly need a leader who is intelligent and understands how government works. i know of a certain Texan who would be absolutely perfect for the job, in fact he's a doctor and extremely smart!

    Yeah – Ron Paul 2008!

    January 2, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  9. Sue

    Why are my fellow Democrats supporting Hillary Clinton?! Please educate yourself on the candidates' stances. Clinton should be losing by a landslide if folks were actually looking at what the Democrat candidates stand for.

    Edwards '08! Obama VP running mate! With Clinton, we're no better than the Republicans we scoffed at for re-electing Bush.

    January 2, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  10. waterprise2

    Several people here say that most Americans don't know the difference or even where Pakistan is...BUT most Americans aren't running for President! That's why we elect representatives who ARE supposed to know these things...and if they don't, they don't deserve our vote!

    January 2, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  11. Unhappy Dem

    If Edwards, Obama, or Clinton get the nomination, I'll be tempted to vote for the Republican. Edwards thinks that the Great Depression hasn't ended yet, Obama talks about change, but how is he going to accomplish anything if his positions are extremely liberal. This country won't ever be united by anyone someone in the hard left or hard right. And Mrs. Clinton, as Obama said tea parties don't count as experience. Furthermore, what did she do as first lady or has done as Senator? Nothing! She's just been running for President all along. None of this individuals are qualified. Making millions as lawyer, attending Harvard law school, or being first lady doesn't qualify you to be president.

    If McCain gets the Republican nomination, I'll vote for him instead.

    January 2, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  12. Bill Wallen


    HILLARY 08

    January 2, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  13. jayatl

    she was right in saying he was on the ballot as expressed in the clinton camp's reply. When we had 06 election the media kept saying bush is on the ballot. i.e. his term, his stances , his party...

    way too much parsing and gotcha is going on here... kinda insulting to the intelligence of us voters.

    January 2, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  14. Trang, Fremont, CA

    Senator Biden,

    You would be my second choice after Barack Obama. I think you are a very knowledgeable fellow, less divisive than Hillary and I certainly would mind seeing you in the White House. However, Barack Obama is someone who has the potential to bring the country together, reach out to many young people, get them engaged, and I think this is what we need right now – young people who starts caring for their country and getting engaged because Obama gives them hope. Many people have become cynical and become disengaged. You don't seem to have that kind of traction.

    January 2, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  15. Bruce Frykman, Elk River MN

    Of course Hillary is an idiot, but that doesn't make her any different than the rest of the motley crew that feel the need to run our lives. They're all idiots!

    They're all "experts" just ask them!

    Folks, it should not matter that the political class are all idiots as long as the graft and corruption that elects them is relatively small.

    Unfortunetrly these political crime families have the power of life and death over us and that must change...we need a revolution. These people cannot be fixed

    January 2, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  16. Ed

    It is very unfair of Mr. Biden to question Hillary on any foreign relations matter since Hillary is allowed to make a very simple mistake once in a while. She is right 98.7% of the time, like Rush.

    January 2, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  17. Jim, Columbus, OH

    Hey, Merlisa, get this, for all his great "experience," Obama can't even be bothered to show up to vote in the Senate because in his first term there he is too busy running for president. In the Illinois legislature Obama frequently voted "present" rather than commit to "yes" or "no" votes on politically charged issues. We don't need more insiders like Biden, Clinton and we don't need a superficial smoothtalker like Obama. You can deride John Edwards by calling him an "ambulance chaser," but the fact is he is one of the few candidates who has actually taken concrete actions to help citizens both in the courtroom and outside of it.

    January 2, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  18. Bill Wallen



    HILLARY 08

    January 2, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  19. Steve

    Why Biden isn’t in the top tier just keeps blowing my mind. This guy always seems to know what he's talking about but for some reason is ignored. Amazing.. I guess it is about the money in this country!! Wakeup Iowa

    January 2, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  20. Eric

    Somehow, someway..........it's Bush's fault that Mrs. Clinton doesn't understand what is happening in Pakistan.

    January 2, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |

    Hillary messed-up on one small detail. So what! She's still the smartest candidate out there. She makes Mitt Romney look like a third-grader. Biden is just picking on her because she's a woman. So is Obama. They hate her because she's smart. She's so smart that they want to smear her and deny her destiny to rule the world. There is a good reason she's running for President, and that is because she is so smart there's no other job good enough for someone with her brains. She and Bill will be the world's smartest rulers. I trust them to rule over me and my 12 kids because they will give me the profits from the drug and oil companies. They will put a stop to corporate greed by giving us all the corporate money. Now, that's smart! Woo hoo! I love smart people like that. They really care and that's all that matters. Go Hill!!!!!!!! Woo hoo!!! Go beat those mean republican children haters.

    January 2, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  22. ole

    Pakistan is a nuclear power that is going through internal struggle and for Clinton to not understand whom the leader is or the political sitcom there gives me the willies thinking of the mistakes she would make as President.
    Remember her absurd health care failure when Bill was president?
    What a waste of time and effort.
    We would get the same were she elected but likely worse as the world is a much more dangerous place now then back when her husband was in the White House.
    She should do the world a flavor and go back to baking cookies.

    January 2, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  23. Jen, Cedar Falls, IA

    Oh, I wonder who will get the ax from Hillary on THIS one! Somebody's BOUND to be going home, even though the words came straight out of her own mouth!!!!! You watch, she'll NEVER admit that she didn't know. Never! She'll make up some lie – AGAIN – to cover her butt.

    January 2, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  24. Ken, San Diego, CA

    There was NO gaffe.

    In a parlimentary government, one votes for the party, NOT the person. However, each party does have a party LEADER. Therefore, the party and the person are interchangeable (i.e., Tony Blair was never on the ballot however everyone spoke as if he was, or, as if the election was a referendum on his government).

    I can't believe Biden would stoop this low, to call out Hillary on this, just to make news for himself knowing that he will most likely not even be viable. That's just wrong. Iowa voters, please see through this nonsense.

    January 2, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  25. ABC123, NY

    melane January 2, 2008 11:35 am ET

    "This is just another example of male gender bias. I dont care if she doesnt know where Pakistan is ...."

    Melane -> Uh, I hope you're not serious or, even worse, that you are of voting age. You want Her Royal Thighness to be president but don't care where the other countries are located. My goodness, we are getting our money's worth from the Dept. Of Edchookashun, aren't we?

    Melane -> Turn off your compooter, take your meds and take a nap ......

    January 2, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
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