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. merlisa

    It's funny how Obama gets stuck with the "inexperience" tag when Edwards was just a one-term senator after years of abulance chasing. Hilliary has only been a senator for a few more years than Obama. Hillary spent most of her life as a candidates wife.

    Just because you trust your doctor that doesn't mean you'd allow his wife to write perscriptions for you.

    And our current president had done nothing for years, except run companies into the ground, until he was elected governnor in 1994. By 2000 he was running for president. This guy was arrested for DUI in his 40s.

    Obama received a BA from Columbia University, where he majored in political science with a specialization in international relations. He entered Harvard Law School in 1988. In 1990, The New York Times reported his election as the Harvard Law Review's "first black president in its 104-year history". He completed his Juris Doctor degree magna cum laude in 1991. He spent several years in the Illinois state senate before running for US Senate.

    I don't see where he is that much less experienced than Hillary or Edwards. Now if you're talking about Biden, that's another story. It's just funny how once the media tags you something, people start believing it.

    Hillary's mistake just exposes how she's been feeding us a bunch of bull about herself and Obama. I'd take him over her or Edwards in Foreign policy any day.

    I'd take Biden over anyone in this race, regardless of party. That man knows what he's talking about.

    January 2, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  2. lenloc

    Its not the mistake stupid. its the lame cover up!
    I mean who is she fooling by saying she was referring to the party and not the person.
    Like Bill parsing the meaning of "is"!

    January 2, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  3. Gloria, San Francisco, Ca

    And, Mr. Bush knew so much about foreign policy and we, the intelliegent, elected him twice??

    Instead of calling the candidates a bunch of names, why don't we start calling ourselves out for allowing our liberties to be stripped and our integrity (as a nation) to be looted by the very people we elected. If we (voters) were even half as smart as you bloggers think "you" are, Bush would have lost in a landslide in the first election and our country would not be in the mess it is in today.

    January 2, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  4. Jay

    Suma John, it is no surprise that most "American" leaders are "dummies," drug users, and so on. Whatis also a surprise is that YOU appear to be an American leader as well. As for Hillarious, she is probably the candidate least likely to destroy our foreign policy and the economy. And, before you all annoint Joe Biden "The Most Serious and Learned Foreign Policy Scholar in the Country," better run and check that he didn't steal his ideas from someone else.

    January 2, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  5. Shannon, Charlottesville, VA

    why must biden be a long shot for president? i think we need someone with his character.

    i can't say i understand pakistan either, but i expect a presidential candidate to. how can hillary say she has a lot of experience but make this kind of mistake?

    January 2, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  6. Tennessee Budd

    Melane (is that the street you live on? Me Lane?) shows the truth–Hitler hass the dyke vote as well as the moonbat vote, not much else.

    January 2, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  7. OJC

    "This is just another example of male gender bias"

    Cause we expect a woman running for president to be knowledgable of foriegn affairs?

    She isn't being picked on because she is a woman, she is being picked on because she doesn't understand the current affairs of a very important/unstable country.

    January 2, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  8. laurie

    Clinton has created her myth of foreign experience and fortunately it's being exposed before we make the mistake of electing her.

    Edwards simply doesn't know what he doesn't know. His call of condolences to Musharif was a freewheeling blunder (with a nation that has nuclear weapons) since it hasn't been established what role Musharif might have played in Bhutto's death. His action has angered people in the Middle East.

    Obama understands Pakistan cannot be dealt with in isolation – that it is an important part of our entire Middle East strategy. He also respects and shares Joe Biden's assessment of the situation.

    I would like to see these 2 men running together – they are both decent, smart men of integrity who really do care about the American people. I would vote for them on either a Biden/Obama ticket or Obama/Biden ticket. I think they would win in a landslide and be one of the most effective political teams in history.

    January 2, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  9. Biden Backer/Seattle

    Why Biden is stomping all the other candidates is astounding. More qualified than the rest from both parties together, which admittedly isn't saying a lot...

    We need this guy elected.

    January 2, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  10. Dan, Maryland

    No surprise here. Hillary is a fake and was exposed.

    I'm sure her crazed supporters will ignore the gaffe anyway.

    January 2, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  11. Ed, NC

    Please, let's not send another Clinton or Bush to the White House.

    January 2, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  12. Andy J, Upstate NY

    Typical of Hillary Supporters.... Biden criticizes her phony experience claims and Hillary's supporters bash bush and the republicans. WEAK.

    January 2, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  13. Steve

    Hillary is nothing more than a great salesman. (If she dropped her shorts, I'm sure I would be vindicated in using the male gender.) If Hillary gets to be President by some fluke of political luck, Bill will certainly be the first lady, as Hillary has even more testosterone than Bill does. I sure there will be more female interns under the oval office desk, but I doubt that the world will find out about it.

    January 2, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  14. Mindy Chatsworth, California

    I admire Joe Biden and think he is one of the most intelligent, articulate and well-informed Democratic candidates. I wish he could manage to garner more support. He deserves it. All along he has been telling it like it is, both in foreign and domestic affairs. I am beginning to think that he is too smart to be president. That doesn't seem to be high on the wish list of a good many people in this country. It's true that he has been talking about Pakistan in almost every debate, trying to make us aware of the potential dangers in that country. The Bhutto assassination has shown that he was right to be concerned.

    I love how he tarred and feathered Giuliani with the best sound bite in one of the debates about how every sentence he says is a noun, a verb and 9/11. So true! He doesn't speak in sound bites or rehearsed sentences. If he can't get the nomination, then at least he deserves consideration for the vice presidential spot on the ticket.

    As far as Hillary is concerned, I do think this is a big deal. She has spent a great deal of time projecting herself as the candidate with the experience and knowledge needed in foreign affairs. Unfortunately, every gaffe takes on a life of its own, even more so as we close in on the Iowa caucas. I do think it's fair to hold her responsible for any mistakes she makes in foreign policy comments. Whatever she meant to say, it came off as though she didn't realize that Musharraf was up for election. As the first woman running for president, she comes under even more scrutiny and, fair or not, every statement gets the full glare of national publicity.

    Yes, it's fair to chastise her for this remark, but to put her in the same category as Huckabee is ridiculous. At least she has a brain and she's not running on faith in Jesus and creationism. There is a world of difference between her and Huckabee. I will probably support her as the best option and the most electable, but in my heart I know that Biden has shown the smarts, common sense and straight talk that we should expect from a presidential candidate.

    January 2, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  15. William

    Hillary was and is a poser. Her campaign's spin on her wrong assessment is typical. Don't make her the nominee.

    January 2, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  16. lasertex

    Being the Smartest women in the world doesn't show well for the rest of the women of the world. Hill needs to resign from the senate and stick to playing hostest for Bill's after dinner playthings.

    January 2, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  17. Hugh

    I am a Republican, would never vote for any of the Dem front runers. Joe Biden is the only adult running on the Dem side. (My side could use some grown ups too.)

    January 2, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  18. pk

    but but but, according to CNN she's had tea with bhutto, right.

    see how stupid it is to assume that first ladies pay close attention to policy?

    January 2, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  19. Steve

    First off, I wonder how many on here under Pakistani politics? If you did, you would realize that the Parliamentary elections would have produced a Prime Minister which in most countries like Pakistan are just as important or more so than the President. So it was/is an important election.

    Having said that, Hillary really blew this one. And then to try and cover up with some lame excuse makes it even worse. As far as Biden and Dodd, if the Dems are elected I just hope someone like them is put in as Secretary of State who knows what they are talking about in foreign policy. I really doubt any President knows everything about every country, though again with an "ally" like Pakistan they sure better.

    So, Hillary should be shamed by media, voters, and everyone else for this gaffe, but at the same time I am not sure any candidate that is likely to get the nomination doesn't need a Biden, Lieberman, Lugar, or the like to have as Secretary of State.

    The worse gaffe of Hillary's for me is that she claims to have known about top secret stuff under Bill that she did not have security clearance to know. She said it and I have seen no media pick up on it. Should that not be a federal crime with her pulling out of the race for it?

    January 2, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  20. jw. oregon

    the oroblem is not the gaffe itself, but Hillary's pretense and deceit, including in the "explanation" offered

    January 2, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  21. Jeff from Jersey

    Even Pakistan doesn't understand what's going on in Pakistan but Clinton should know better.The truth is NONE of the candidates of either party really know what's been going on becaue they are so caught up in campaigning that they haven't been able to watch everything else that's going on minute by minute.What Biden knows today he'll make up for what he doesn't see tommorrow.Obama is so busy trying to be a Huck Finn candidate he's couldn't even get his flying circus to land at the right airport not too long ago.He's also clipping coupons out of the newspaper and going to Walmart.Clinton has been so busy saying and unsaying things that she's barely been able to keep an eye on what Bill has been saying and unsaying.

    The Republicans are even worse.The republican "Huck Finn" has been so busy getting things wrong that he's resorted to hanging what used to be a symbol of Christianity behind him so that while he's so busy screwing everything else up,he thinks he can get people to think he's been endorsed by God.Romney has been trying so hard to to paint Huck as a foreign relations idiot and convince the Christian extremists that while he's a Morman,he's really just another Christian conservative that goes to different church but even he can't remember whether he's in a christian church or a morman church at any given moment.Giuliani has been keeping his big mouth shut because he hasn't been able to hide the fact that he's such a mean-spirited jerk and even he can't figure out if he's really a republican conservative or a liberal democrat.McCain has been getting his senior citizen discount at the matinee shows at the movies and trying to pretend he's really not just a washed up old fool while Fred Thompson has been showing slides of all the places he's been on vaction to around the world.The rest are so irrelevant they aren't even news-worthy any more.

    Is there anyone left on the planet that still doesn't understand why the world,especially our country,is as screwed up and dangerous as it is?I mean besides Bush?

    January 2, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  22. Lars42

    Almost eight years ago this country voted for a man totally ill-equipped to lead our nation in difficult times. Unprepared for terrorist attacks (briefing books went unread), President Bush squandered the kindness and solidarity offered us by the rest of the world and literally undid 200+ years of accumulated goodwill.

    We are once again poised to nominate a candidate more for the family she comes from and less for her credentials as a leader. Adams, Roosevelt, Kennedy, Bush and now Clinton. The unnatural appeal of a free people to Royalty is dumbfounding. Media and money appear to trump experience and ability. As Ann Richards said of George Bush, "Mrs. Clinton was born on third base and walks around bragging about hitting a triple."

    It is time we treated elections less like the celebrity of American Idol and more like the founding fathers planned. The best person for the job should be elected. Joe Biden is clearly that man.

    January 2, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  23. Jack

    The fact that Melane doesn't care if Hillary knows where Pakistan is, scares me as much as the fact that Hillary doesn't understand the international situation. That is a primary responsibility of the President. I thinks all of the candidates should be required to take a public oral test on such topics as the "vital intersts" of the US, the official positions of foreign governments and the history of events which shape them.

    January 2, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  24. Jen, Gainesville, FL

    Some of the comments sound that this issue is about gender (e.g. tea or cookies). Please be serious. It is about judgment and experience. Clearly, Hillary does not have good judgment. This is why she was fooled twice by Bush and many times by Bill. That is why she has to claim that she has the experience.

    What kind of experience doe she have? Nothing to speak of about her senate record. So, the only thing left is her experience as the First Lady because the public can not verify her claims anyway with records available.

    Now the gaffe. "The emperor has no clothes on." I hope more and more people can start to believe it now.

    A comment to Ian who said that Obama knows less about Parkistan than Hillary: Ian, we need to say from facts. One fact is that Obama is the first presidential candiate who warned us months ago that Parkistan is a problem that has been ignored. Biden was the second candidate who concurred by pointing to the potential nuke problem in Parkistan. This is good judgment.

    Obama/Biden 2008

    January 2, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  25. marfa

    All the Democrats and 1/2 the Republicans are all over the map when it comes to most vital issues – like a blind quarterback who doesn't even know which play is called. I mean it is absolutely dumbfounding that these men (that includes Hillary) are the best of those who'd run. Maybe some Republicans who would actually be good, and there are several, did not want to face the Clinton Destruction Team – thinking s/he would be the Dem candidate. Who would want to go through that hell? They have a scorched earth policy when dealing with everyone – even their close friends if it benefits them. Biden once in a while will make a coherent observation but he is an arrogant, vain wannabe.

    January 2, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
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